You may know I am a Travel Editor for Regina Magazine and Regina just published it's blog, Regina Travel Blog. My pictorial essay on the Mirinae Shrine of the Martyrs in Korea was just published. Here it is, called A Church of 10,000 Martyrs. I'm posting some more facts, or the whole story, below to give a better understanding of this amazing pilgrimage and why St. Andrew Kim Taegon, the first Korean priest and first martyred priest in Korea, is now the patron saint of South Korea. More pictures on Regina's blog...
The Mirinae Shrine located in Anseong, south Korea is renowned for having the tomb of St. Andrew Kim Taegon and acts as a memorial to 103 Korean martyrs.
Andrew Kim Tae-gon was born on 21 August 1821, in Chungchong Province, Korea. Andrew's parents were converts to Catholicism and Andrew went to seminary in Machao, China when he was about 16. Andrew's father was martyred in Korea in 1839 during a set of persecutions by the Korean government. Andrew Kim Taegon was ordained as a priest in 1845 and returned immediately to Korea. He was 24 years old and Korea's first Catholic priest. After serving Catholics in Korea with great faith during this time of persecution for nearly a year, Andrew Kim Taegon was arrested, tortured and beheaded in Seoul on September 20, 1846. At his death, he was only 25 years old.
The body of Andrew Kim Taegon was carried by faithful friends to Mirinae in Anseong, Korea, where hsi was buried in secret on October 30, 1846. The local ordinary who ordained Andrew Kim Taegon lies next to the Saint in Mirinae as was his deathbed wish.
Both Andrew Kim Taegon and his father, Ignatius Kim, were beatified byPope Pius XI in 1925. St. Andrew was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1984 and is now the patron saint of Korea with his feast day celebrated on September 20th.
St. Andrew Kim Taegon was known for his bravery which he exhibited by serving in Korea during a time of terrible persecution because his people were "sheep without a shepherd". The Mirinae Shrine is one of many in Korea that honors the thousands of martyred Korean Catholics during the persecutions, but is especially moving because it holds the body of Korea's first priest, and Korea's martyred priest, St. Andrew Kim Taegon.