"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 long 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
St. Andrew was of nobility; his parents were converts, his father a martyr. Andrew was
baptized at age 15, then travelled 1,300 miles to the nearest seminary in Macao.
Korea's first native priest, and the first priest to die for the faith in
Korea. Leader of the Martyrs Of Korea. He lived during the Joseon Dynasty.
"This is my last hour of life, listen to me attentively : if I have held communication with foreigners, it has been for my religion and for my God. It is for Him that I die. My immortal life is on the point of beginning. Become Christians if you wish to be happy after death, because God has eternal chastisements in store for those who have refused to know Him."
-St. Andrew Dae-gon Kim's last words
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
Came back to Korea on October 12, 1845
Arrested on May 12, 1846
Martyred: September 16, 1846
Beautified: July 5, 1925
Canonized: May 6, 1984
Feast Day: September 20
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
He 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 miserable. 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 been 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 grace we 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 of 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 brothers and sisters,
Our Lord Jesus 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 Church
came to Korea, the faithful have suffered several waves of persecutions.
And now some 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 win with all
your strength like a brave soldier armed for battle.
As you wait for the Lord in his mercy may it 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 of the saints, bring
greater glory to the Church by being loyal soldiers and upright people of
God. Although you 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)
The Story of St. Andrew Kim Dae-gon
From the beginning of establishment of the Korean Church, believers went
through persecutions that colored the land red with their blood for more
than one hundred years. However, the number of believers increased all over
the country, and blood of martyrs made the land fertile for Catholicism
DaeGon Kim was born in Aug 21, 1821 in Chung-chung province to a devout
Catholic family. DaeGon's belief was nourished by his mother, Ursula Ko.
He had his first communion on June 1836 by Fr. Maubant, Peter, who came
to Korea on January 1836, and was looking for boys who could possibly become
the first Korean priest. He chose DaeGon Andrew. DaeGon's parents were very
supportive of his decision to become a priest. DaeGon met other candidates
Bang-jae Choi and Yang-up Choi, and left for Macao.
On June 6, 1837, Fr. Livewa from the Paris Foreign Mission warmly welcomed
the three boys. Macao was seized by Portugal in 1557, and the city served
as a door to the orient for Europeans. In a short while, the boys had to
flee with members of the Paris Foreign Mission to Manila, Philippine from
a riot in Macao. On their return to Macao, DaeGon Kim and Yang-up Choi lost
their colleague Bang-jae Choi. In November of 1839, the two boys and members
of the Paris Foreign Mission returned to Macao.
In that same year in Korea, "Kihae year" religious persecution began, and
along with numerous believers Jae-jun Kim Ignacio (DaeGon Kim's father)
and Kyung-hwan Choi Francisco (Yang-up Choi's father) were executed.
In 1840, while the two boys were studying religion in Macao, King Louis
Philip of France sent three warships to investigate Korea. To get help,
Commander Cecil asked Paris Foreign Mission in Macao for assistants. Therefore,
DaeGon Kim and Yang-up Choi could dream about visiting Korea with two priests,
Fr. Mestro and Fr. Bretenieres. In the Fall of 1842, two warships arrived
at Yangja River entrance in China. Right around that time, China and England
had made the "Namkyung treaty," and people's riot had ended in China. Because
of that treaty, French warships had to return to France. They left the two
boys and two priests in China. They waited to enter Korea from China, and
DaeGon Kim's numerous attempts to enter Korea consecutively faced difficulties.
To listen to news about Korean church, DaeGon Kim even pretended to be a
beggar. In December 23, 1842 he left for the border with two Chinese Catholics.
Before reaching the border, DaeGon met a group of 300 people headed for
Peking. One of them was Francisco Kim, a secret envoy from the Korean church.
It had been seven years since DaeKun had met any Korean fellow believer.
He showed DaeGon things he was carrying, including a diary written by Fr.
Imbert until the day before he was martyred, final letters written by Fr.
Maubant and Fr.Chastan, and petition from Korean Catholics asking for more
priests. DaeGon Kim asked a Chinese Catholic to deliver letters to Fr. Mestro,
and said good bye to Francisco Kim.
DaeGon tried very hard to return to Korea. He had tried to meet Korean believers
at Hamkyung province to find out the way to get to Seoul, Korea, but he
decided it was too risky. He gave up on that plan for a while, and returned
to Manchuria, China where he finished his theological formation in December
15 1844. In January 1845, DaeKun Kim entered Korea alone with an important
mission. It was to find out the situation of Korean Church to describe it
to the Bishop Pereol who was supposed to enter Korea in the near future.
It had been more than ten years since he saw his home country.
Upon arriving in Seoul, he met only crucial Catholic members, and collected
information on martyrs. He bought a boat with 150 nyang (Korean currency
at the time) that he brought from China, and prepared for the arrival of
the Bishop and priests. With eleven other believers, DaeGon Kim started
sailing towards Shanghai in April of that year. When they arrived in Shanghai,
Bishop Pereol was in Macao. After receiving the news that DaeGon Kim was
in Shanghai, the Bishop left Macao with Fr. Daveluy. After listening to
DaeGon Kim's report, the Bishop hurried to ordain DaeGon Kim.
On August 17, 1845 at Kimgahang, a little Korean town in China, DaeGon Kim
was ordained in front of less than ten Korean Catholics. DaeGon Kim became
the first Korean priest. On the 24th of the same month, assisted by Fr.
Daveluy, Fr. Andrew Kim DaeGon offered his first mass at Mandang seminary.
When it was about to leave for Korea, Bishop Pereol came to the boat and
bless that small boat and named it Raphael. On August 31, Fr. Kim, Fr. Develuy
and other Koreans left for Korea at night. Fortunately, a Chinese Catholic
pulled Raphael boat until Sandong, China. But Suddenly after that, there
was a big storm and it broke the helm and tore the canvas. With a new canvas
and helm, and with the help of guiding angels, the Raphael could sail to
the sea close to Cheju Island, Korea on September 28. From then on, it sailed
to Kum river, between Chunra Province and Chungchung Province.
On a small Catholic village called Nabawi, the group could drop the anchor.
DaeGon Kim who returned home as a priest and Bishop Pereol who waited for
this opportunity for six years were very emotional to be in Korea. That
was October 12, 1845, and 42 days passed since they left Shanghai. They
clothed as mourner at night, and spent the night in Nabawi.
After that night, DaeGon Kim left Nabawi, while the Bishop and Fr. Daveluy
stayed at a believer's house to learn Korean. Imagine the happiness among
Nabawi Catholics! They could have mass everyday and stay close to a Bishop
and a priest.
Fr. DaeGon Kim could actively work because he was a Korean priest who had
no language boundaries. He visited Catholics all over the country and became
their consolation. Because he was a competent and hard worker, Bishop Pereol
ranked this young priest high in Korean Catholic Church.
Fr. Kim prepared a place for the bishop in Seoul, and located him safely.
After that, he could visit his hometown and found his Mother and other believers.
With such an emotion to see a son who became a priest, Mother Ursula could
not talk to him right away. Fr. Kim offered a mass for his martyred father.
During the mass he realized that his life was not his any more. Like his
father, it was God. At the same time, he felt big responsibility of becoming
Father of all Korean Catholics.
Meanwhile in China, Fr. Mestro and Yang-up Choi was waiting for an opportunity
to enter Korea. They were waiting for a message from Korea. Ordered by the
Bishop, DaeGon Kim left on a boat to see the opportunity to send the message.
When he arrived at an island of Korea, he met a few Chinese fishermen.
He talked in Chinese with them, and sensed that they can be trusted. Fr.
Kim gave the fishermen the letter and a map to deliver them to middle people
in Yodong and Macao. Fr. Kim was happy to accomplish the mission, and was
heading back to Seoul. Unfortunately the police came up to him and said
they needed the boat to drive off the Chinese fishermen. At that time, the
law said if the boat belongs to nobles, the government could not touch it.
Fr. Andrew Kim insisted that it was his boat, and said they could not borrow
it. That's when police became violent and beat Fr. Kim and arrested him.
It was May 12, 1836.
Fr. Kim was transferred to different jails before he was finally transferred
to Seoul. During the inquisition with severe tortures, the police found
out that he was chosen to be a seminarian sent to foreign country long time
Witnesses said during the time, many torturers were amazed at his knowledge
of the world. Sometimes, Fr. Kim was requested by torturers to draw and
color world maps in English.
Because of his profound knowledge, status, and career, the Chosun (Korean)
government had 40 meetings, some including the King, to decide what to do
with him. While doing so, a French warship appeared on the coast of Korea
on August 9. The French insisted Korea to open doors with the issue of killing
French Bishop Imbert, Fr. Maubant and Fr. Chastan during the "Kihae year"
persecution in 1839. The Korean government was aware of the Opium war and
was thinking about using Fr. DaeGon Kim as an ambassador. The Korean government
was going to send Fr. Kim to the ship and explain the killings of the three
priests, and suggest peace. This could have saved Fr. Kim's life. However,
the French warship had left Korea on August 10, saying that they will be
back in a year.
The Korean government once again proposed seclusion as the best weapon to
Western powers, and sentenced Fr. Kim with death. On September 16, 1846,
Fr. Andrew Kim DaeGon was beheaded at age 26, and his head was exposed to
the public as a warning. Before his death, he shouted, "People! Listen to
me! The reason I contacted foreigners was for our church, and for our God.
And now I am dying for our God, and my ever lasting life is about to begin.
If you want to earn ever lasting life, believe in God." His corpse was gathered
by a believer name Min-sik Lee in a few days, and entombed at Mirinae, Kyungki
Bishop Pereol on his letter to Fr. Baran in the Paris Foreign Mission wrote,
Losing this young priest is the biggest misfortune to Korean Church. I have
loved him as the father loved his son. The only consolation I have is to
imagine his happiness in heaven. He was the first Korean priest, and the
only one up to this date. His fervent belief and sincere reverence with his
astounding speech could earn him respect and love from believers who contacted
him even just once.
Begin With: Our Father, Three Hail Mary's, and Glory Be.
On First Decade: Saint Andrew Kim Dae-gon, you followed the Lord's Call
and journeyed to Macao to enter seminary. Please pray for our priests and
seminarians as they serve with love as you did.
Reading from his letters from prison: "God orders all things in this world.
God permits even persecutions. As you wait in patient submission, pray earnestly
for speedy peace. My death will be a loss to you physically and spiritually,
but before long 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 Kim Dae-gon, pray for us.
Our Beloved Mama Mary, pray for us.
Sweet Infant Jesus, pray for us.
St. Ursula Ko, mother of St. Andrew Kim Dae-gon, pray for us.
St. Jae-jun Kim Ignacio, father of St. Andrew Kim Dae-gon, pray for us.
All Saints & Martyrs of Korea, pray for us.
Our Beloved Family in Heaven, pray for us.
Our Beloved Friends in Heaven, pray for us.
May we forever follow the footsteps of Jesus as St. Andrew Kim Dae-gon did.
May we always be true to God's Call in our lives and be more loving and
On Second Decade: Saint Andrew Kim Dae-gon, in serving the Korean people
you underwent trials and tribulations. Please pray for us to always trust
in the Lord.
Reading: "Following the footsteps of the saints, bring greater glory to
the Church by being loyal soldiers and upright people of God. Although you
are many be of one mind, not forgetting to love. Be patient and compassionate
as you await the Lord's day of mercy."
On Third Decade: Saint Andrew Kim Dae-gon, you were imprisoned because you
were a Christian and martyred for your faith. Please help us spread the
love of Jesus wherever we are as you did.
Reading:" Once born, no one can escape dying. What I desire is to die for
God. Whether you question me today or tomorrow, my answers will be the same."
On Fourth Decade: Saint Andrew Kim Dae-gon, you greatly inspired your people
who had contact with you. Pray that others will see the Lord in us as they
did in you.
Reading: "So it is the Lord regards the world as His field and us as His
seedlings. He fertilizes us with grace and waters us with the Blood of the
Savior that we might grow and produce grain. At the judgement, harvest time,
those who produce the fruits of grace will be justified and the others will
receive just punishment."
On Fifth Decade: Saint Andrew Kim Dae-gon, you led others in service to
Christ. Please pray that we will love abundantly in our service to others.
Reading: "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.
Ending Prayer: Saint Andrew Kim Dae-gon, as you led the people of Korea,
please lead us to be stronger Christians and to always follow the footsteps
of our Beloved Jesus as you did in times of tribulation and persecution.
We ask this through Our Lord, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with God
the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.
Some Favorite Links
Back To The Main Page
Diocese Of Beaumont
Praying For Priests
Pray For Priests
In Honor Of Saint Catherine of Siena
Sisters Of The Sorrowful Mother
Infant Jesus Home Page
Saint Andrew Kim - First Korean Priest