By Kim Ae-ran

In memory of the martyrs who were willing to choose death, Catholics are used to making a pilgrimage in autumn.

Recently in the lofty season when chestnuts fall like stars, I had a gracious renewal meeting for 17 days at the Queen of the Apostles' Retreat House in Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province. In celebration of the silver anniversary, our group, which consists of nine fellow sisters, visited several martyrdom holy places in the Naepo area in South Chungcheong Province.

One of them is the Haemi Martyrdom Holy Ground in Seosan. This holy place is the site where about 1,000 Catholics were buried alive at the time of the Byeongin persecution from 1866 to 1873.

During the Byeongin persecution, Catholics were executed outside the West Gate of Haemieupseong Fortress. The martyrs were buried alive in a huge pit all at once.

Proclaimed as an official international pilgrimage site by the Vatican on March 1, 2021, the Haemi Martyrdom Holy Ground has become the second official international pilgrimage site in Korea after the Seoul Catholic Pilgrimage Routes. Other official international pilgrimage sites include Jerusalem of Israel, Rome of Italy, Santiago of Spain and 20 sites of Marian apparitions.

A 16-meter-high memorial tower was set up near Haemi Stream to pay tribute to the nameless martyrs who were buried alive.

Built in the 15th century to defend against Japanese invasion, Haemieupseong Fortress became a representative fortress in the Joseon period.

During the persecution, many Catholics from South Chungcheong Province were forced to come to Haemieupseong Fortress, where the administration office was located. They were chained up, tortured to death while hanging from the pagoda tree (Hoehwanamu), tortured with cold water or thrashed on a large flat stone.

Saint Paul the Apostle once described the suffering that he had to endure: "I am still more, with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, far worse beatings, and numerous brushes with death. Five times at the hands of the Jews I received 40 lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I passed a night and a day on the deep; on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers…; in toil and hardship, through many sleepless nights, through hunger and thirst, through frequent fasting, through cold and exposure." (2 Corinthians 11:23-27)

In the footsteps of Saint Paul, faithful people put faith into practice and endured all the painful tortures only to be united with Jesus dying on the cross.

While walking around the fortress, the recent pitiful situation came into my mind. Several months ago, one priest whom I know has become braindead due to overwork and exhaustion. He was once a beloved young priest with a promising future. How can we explain the cause of such a miserable accident? Nobody would expect such a painful accident to happen to a person who is so handsome, pure, generous and faithful. We really don't know anything about the future; we just live this moment here and now.

Around the world, such inexplicable suffering often happens without notice, and it joins the painful procession of numerous martyrs.

Nevertheless, time flies like an arrow. Time just passes away. And our lives go on without end. "The sun rises and the sun sets; then it presses on to the place where it rises." (Ecclesiastes 1:5).


The author is a member of the Daughters of St. Paul (fsp.pauline.or.kr.) living and giving the Good News to the world by means of social communication.



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Haemi Martyrdom Holy Ground

15 0 0
05.10.2022
By Kim Ae-ran

In memory of the martyrs who were willing to choose death, Catholics are used to making a pilgrimage in autumn.

Recently in the lofty season when chestnuts fall like stars, I had a gracious renewal meeting for 17 days at the Queen of the Apostles' Retreat House in Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province. In celebration of the silver anniversary, our group, which consists of nine fellow sisters, visited several martyrdom holy places in the Naepo area in South Chungcheong Province.

One of them is the Haemi Martyrdom Holy Ground in Seosan. This holy place is the site where about 1,000 Catholics were buried alive at the time of the Byeongin persecution from 1866 to 1873.

During the Byeongin persecution, Catholics were executed outside the West Gate of Haemieupseong Fortress. The martyrs were buried alive in a huge pit all at once.

Proclaimed as an official international........

© The Korea Times


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