Saint Andrew Kim Taegon

St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon (1821-1846) was born to a noble family in Korea, and was baptized at the age of 15 after his parents converted to the Catholic faith. Andrew's father, great-grandfather, and great-uncle were martyred during the government's staunch persecution against Christianity, leaving the remaining family in poverty. Andrew was later chosen to travel over 1,000 miles to the nearest seminary in China to be trained for the priesthood. He was ordained in Shanghai as the first native Korean priest in the Church's history of evangelizing in that country. He returned to Korea in secrecy to avoid detection by the authorities. Once back in his hometown, he worked to catechize the faithful until his bishop summoned him to Seoul to help smuggle French missionaries from China into Korea, with the aid of Chinese fishermen. During this operation he was caught and imprisoned by the border patrol, and charged as a traitor to his country. He was tortured and beheaded on September 16, 1846, at the age of 25. Pope John Paul II canonized Fr. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, along with 102 other Korean martyrs, on May 6, 1984. St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon is the patron saint of Korea. His feast day is celebrated on September 20th.

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