103 Korean Martyr Saints
St. Perpetua Hong Kum-ju (1804-1839)
Perpetua Hong Kum-ju was born outside the city of Seoul. She was a powerful woman in character, intelligence, manner and language. She grew up in the home of her grandmother. She married a pagan man at the age of 15 but managed somehow to practice her religion. Her husband died early, and she left her husband's home with her son and lived in Minari-kol. Her son also died soon after. The owner of the house where she stayed, Philip Choe, taught her the catechism anew, and Perpetua prayed so fervently that she frequently wept during her prayers. People admired her charitable activities and said that she helped others like a servant.
Perpetua used to say: "I want a red garment, because I want to be a martyr." She was arrested, and was tortured and commanded to deny God and reveal the hiding places of the Catholics. But she did not even moan. The policemen twisted her legs, and then stripped her and hung her from the prison ceiling to beat her, but she remained calm. Three days later she was sent to the higher court and severely beaten on her legs on three occasions, but she did not succumb to the judges. She almost died of fever in prison, but she recovered very quickly and served the other inmates unselfishly. Everybody in prison regarded her as their elder sister.
Perpetua was beheaded outside the Small West Gate on September 26, 1839, at the age of 36 with eight other Catholics.