• Outline of Visit
  • The 6th Asian Youth Day
  • Overview of Beatification
  • Lives of the 124 Korean Martyrs
  • Mass for Peace and Reconciliation
HOME > Pilgrimage > Lives of the 124 Korean Martyrs
Rise up in splendor! (Isaiah 60,1)
Lives of the 124 Korean Martyrs
Kang Gyeong-bok (Susan)
Date of birth 1762 Sex woman Place of birth Position/Status Liaison Virgin Court lady
Age 39 Date or martyrdom Jul. 2, 1801 Place of martyrdom Small West Gate Seoul Mode of martyrdom beheading
 Susan Kang Gyeong-bok was born in 1762 to a common class family and became a court lady. She remained single until she died a martyr in 1801. She lived in ‘Yangjegung`, also called `Pyegung`, which means the place where royal family members, dismissed from the palace, lived. The owners of `Yangjegung` were Mary Song and her daughter-in-law, Mary Sin. They had believed in Catholicism for many years. From 1795 they had frequent contact with Father James Zhou Wen-mo and the catechist Columba Kang Wan-suk.
   Around 1798, the landlady, Mary song called Susan Kang to her home and explained to her about the doctrine of the Catholic Church and invited her to believe in God. From that time on, Susan Kang learned the catechism with other court ladies and practiced it with zeal. She often went to Columba Kang`s house with other court ladies to attend the Mass celebrated by Father James Zhou and to hear his lecture on the catechism. She was baptized, and given the Christian name `Susan`, She practiced the Catholic faith with great devotion.
   Upon hearing the news that the Shinyu Persecution had broken out in February 1801, Father James Zhou escaped to Yangjegung with the help of a servant, Nam Gu-wol. Susan Kang, who was visiting her mother, happened to hear that the police were searching for Catholics. She rushed to Yangjegung and reported the news. Thanks to her, Father James Zhou was able to escape quickly to another place. After Father James Zhou had escaped safely, Susan Kang left the house also and escaped to another place.
   However, she was soon arrested by the police and taken to the Police Headquarters in Seoul. Susan Kang was immediately interrogated and tortured, however she did not yield, but professed saying, "I am deeply imbued with Catholicism so I cannot change my mind even if I have to die." Then the police transferred her to the Supreme Court, where she was interrogated again and cruelly tortured. She lost consciousness for a moment and became confused and said, "I will not believe in the Catholic religion again."
   Due to this statement, the Supreme Court sent her to the Justice Ministry. There, she sincerely repented her temporary weakness and was determined to profess her faith in God again. The persecutors tried to force her to reveal the whereabouts of Father James Zhou and to renounce her religion, but it was in vain. She was ready to accept punishment and die for God. After interrogation, she made the following statement:
   "I have been deeply imbued with the Catholic religion, and I think its doctrine is authentic. While I was living in Yangjegung, I visited Father James Zhou and received the Sacrament of Baptism. Since then, my faith in the Catholic teaching has grown stronger. Therefore, I do not have the slightest intention of renouncing my faith even though I have to die for it."
   Susan Kang was condemned to death along with eight fellow Catholics including Columba Kang. On July 2, 1801 (May 22, by the Lunar calendar), she was taken outside the Small West Gate in Seoul, beheaded and died a martyr. Susan Kang was 39 years old.