• 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
Mun Yeong-in (Vivian)
Date of birth 1776 Sex woman Place of birth Seoul Position/Status Liaison Virgin Court lady
Age 25 Date or martyrdom Jul. 2, 1801 Place of martyrdom Small West Gate Seoul Mode of martyrdom beheading
 Vivian Mun Yeong-in was the third daughter of a middle class family in Seoul. She was selected to become a court lady in 1783 at the age of seven. Her father, a low-rank government official, lived with Vivian and her younger sisters, hiding the elder ones elsewhere. However, the court officials, recognizing the intelligence and beauty of Vivian, chose her to become a court lady. That is how Vivian Mun was brought up in court.
   After she learned to write, she was assigned to writing reports. In 1797, at the age of 21, she had to take temporary leave from court because she was very sick. It was at that time that she heard about the Catholic religion from an old woman. She learned the catechism from her and became a Catholic.
   After that Vivian Mun became acquainted with Columba Kang Wan-suk who was the first woman catechist. In 1798 she went to Columba Kang‘s house and received the Sacrament of Baptism from Father James Zhou Wen-mo and was given the name Vivian. She visited Columba Kang`s house from time to time and studied the Catholic books with other faithful and attended Mass.
   In the meantime, Vivian Mun recovered her health and returned to court. Of course, it was difficult for her to observe religious duties in court. However even in such a difficult situation, she made every effort to remain faithful to her prayer life. Finally, it became known that Vivian Mun was a Catholic and she was dismissed from court.
   Now, Vivian Mun could devote herself fully to her religion. Reading the biographies of the Saints, she tried to follow them and prayed fervently. Sometimes, she revealed her wish to die a martyr for the glory of God. She was dismissed from her family as well, due to her religious belief. She rented a house in Cheongseok-dong, Seoul and dedicated her life to God and to the Church. When Augustine Jeong Yak-jong moved to Seoul, she let him use her house.
   After the Shinyu Persecution broke out in 1801, Vivian Mun returned home and waited for the day that she would die a martyr. Eventually she was arrested by the police. She was taken to the Police Headquarters and was severely punished. In the course of torture, she was so confused that she said she would give up her religion, but as soon as she realized what she had done she professed her faith in God, saying, "Though I might die, I cannot change my mind about my faith in God."
   Then Vivian Mun was transferred to the Justice Ministry where she was punished again. However, this time she remained firm in her faith. She tried to prove that she was a Catholic, explaining the Catholic doctrine with zeal. Her testimony at the Justice Ministry reads as follows:
   "In my first statement at the Police Headquarters I said that I would betray the Catholic religion, but, these were only words. In my heart, I never intended to renounce my faith. That is why I reversed my statement. I have believed in God with a sincere heart for many years. Thus, I cannot change my mind in one day."
   The Justice Ministry, on realizing that they could not change Vivian Mun`s mind, pronounced the death sentence on her. The following is an excerpt from the written death sentence:
   "She is so deeply imbued with the Catholic religion that she will never renounce it. Thus, she deserves to die ten thousand times."
   Vivian Mun was taken outside the Small West Gate in Seoul, along with her eight companions on July 2, 1801 (May 22, by the Lunar calendar), where they were beheaded and died martyrs. Vivian Mun was 25 years old and a virgin.
   It is said that the blood that flowed from Vivian Mun`s legs, when she was tortured, changed into flowers that were blown off in the air. When she was beheaded, the blood that gushed from her throat was as white as milk.