St. Andrew Dae-Gon Kim
"Once born, no one can escape dying. What I desire today is to die for God. Whether you question me today or tomorrow, my answers will be the same. "
- From St. Andrew Dae-gon Kim's testimony in prison -
"God orders all things in this world. God permits even the persecutions. As you wait in patient submission, pray earnestly for speedy peace. My death will be a loss for you physically and spiritually, but before log God will send you another shepherd better than I. So do not grieve but practice greater charity and serve the Lord so that we may meet again in God's eternal mansion."
- St. Andrew Dae-gon Kim's letter from prison to people waiting for sentence in prison -
First native Korean priest
Born: August 21,1821
Birthplace: Solmoi, Chung-Cheong, Korea
Went to seminary in Macao, China in 1836
Ordination of Deacon: December 17, 1844
Ordination of Priest: August 17, 1845 ; returned to Korea on October 12, 1845
Arrested on May 12, 1846
Martyred: September 16, 1846
Beatified: July 5, 1925
Canonized: May 6, 1984
Father Andrew Kim's Letter from prison to his people :
To the Faithful,
My friend, consider and consider again. Consider how God, even before the beginning of the time, has created everything that exists. Consider why Hw has created humans in His own image and put them in this world. When you think of this world there is much to make us sad and miserabe. For those born into this dangerous and wretched world,who do not know the one who made us, there is no point or meaning to existence. This is the true even for us who have benn born by the grace of God, by His grace called to the Church, to be his disciple through baptism and so receive a precious name. If after receiving this gracewe sin against the Lord, of what use is the name? Not only are birth and baptism futile, we have actually betrayed God and His grace.
Consider the farmer sowing his seed. When the time is right, he ploughs and fertilizes his field, heedless of his soil in the heat. For he knows that by careful cultivation his seed will produce crops. In joyful harvesting he will forget the sweat he has had to pour out. If at harvest time if there are no crops but only empty husks, the owner, remembering his sweat and hard work and wasted fertilizer, will curse that field. So it is that the Lord regards the world as his field and is as his seedlings. He fertilizes us with grace and waters us with the blood od the Savior that we might grow and produce grain. At the judgement, at the harvest time, those who produce the fruits of grace will be justified and the others will receive just punishment.
My beloved brother and sisters,Our Lord Jesu came into the world and personally suffered countless torments, establishing the Church amid suffering. After Jesus' Ascension, from the time of the apostles to the present, the world has been attacking the Church. However, the world cannot defeat the Church. The Church will continue to grow in the midst of hardship. In the fifty or sixty years since the Chuech came to Korea, the faithful have suffered several waves of persecutions. And now somw of us are imprisoned and you are all greatly troubled. However, while we remain united in spirit there is no need for lamentation nor fear of being parted in the flesh. As the Scriptures tell us, the Lord knows enven the number of hairs on our head, nothing escapes his eyes. So this persecution is life-giving. The Lord rewards, he does not punish. By following the will of God and standing firmly on the side of Jesus, we ensure the defeat of the world and the devil.
In these troubled times do not be downhearted, but fight to ein iwth all your strength like a brave soldier armed for battle.As you wait for the Lord in his mercy ti remove these hardships do not forget to love and help others. Whatever happens, be patient, seek always eternal glory and be very, very cautious.
The twenty of us here are faring well in the Lord's grace. If we are to die, I beg you not to forget our families. I have much to say but I cannot find the words. So I will end.
We will soon be going out to the battlefield. Take good care and let us meet again in heaven. I love you and cannot forget you. I beg you, in these troubled times do not be led astray. Pray to the Lord day and night to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. Be steadfast in persecution, put eternal glory first and work for the salvation of your souls.
The Lord is testing us through this persecution. We need to grow in merit by defeating the world and the devil. Do not weaken under the pressure of misfortune. On the contrary, following the footsteps od the saints, bring greater glory to the Church by being loyal soldiers and upright people of God. Although your are many be of one mind, not forgetting to love. Be patient and compassionate as you await the Lord's day of mercy.
I have much to say but this is not the place for it. I earnestly pray that we will all meet again in Heaven. I send you a loving kiss.
Kim Dae-gon Andrew (signed)