103 Korean Martyr Saints
Han Jae-kwo˘n Joseph (1835-1866)
Catechist Han Jea-kwo˘ n Joseph was born in 1835 in Imch'o˘ n, Ch'ungch'o˘ ng Province, but lived at Taeso˘ ngdong in Cho˘ nju when the persecution broke out.
Before Joseph moved to Taeso˘ ngdong, he had been a catechist, but in Taeso˘ngdong he was not acting as a catechist. He was living there as an ordinary Catholic. His character was so honest and gentle that everybody in the village, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, loved and respected him. He fulfilled all his Christian duties and wanted to die as a martyr.
On December 3, 1866, in the evening Joseph was arrested by a group of police. He was sent to the Cho˘ nju prison together with other Catholics. In Cho˘nju he not only was tortured by the government officials but also was troubled by his own family members, who threatened to commit suicide unless Joseph denied his religion. Joseph, however, endured all these difficulties with courage.
His non-Catholic father begged the governor to release Joseph, and sent Joseph letters urging him to renounce his religion. Joseph gently but strongly refused his father's request. His father even tried to bribe the government officials to have his son released. The government officials tried very hard to get Joseph to deny his religion, but their continued efforts failed. Joseph's father kept bribing the government officials, but Joseph reminded him that he was not his only son. He told his father that he really wanted to die for God.
On December 13, 1866, Joseph achieved his desire at the age of 31. He was finally beheaded at Supjo˘ngi in Cho˘ nju.
Some sources call Han Jea-kwo˘n Peter, but most sources call him Joseph.