• 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
Yun Jeom-hye (Agatha)
Date of birth Sex woman Place of birth Gyeonggi-do Position/Status Catechist Virgin N.C.F.
Age Date or martyrdom Jul. 4, 1801 Place of martyrdom Yanggeun Gyeonggi-do Mode of martyrdom beheading
 Agatha Yun Jeom-hye was born around 1778 in Hangamgae, Yanggeun, Gyeonggi-do (now, Daeseok-ri Kangsang-myeon). She learned the catechism from her mother at an early age, and became a Catholic. Paul Yun Yu-il, who was martyred in 1795, was her cousin and Lucy Yun Un-hye, who was martyred in 1801, was her sister.
   After learning the catechism she vowed to dedicate herself to God and to live a celibate life. But the Korean custom did not allow a woman to remain single and live alone. So, she decided to leave home. She made men‘s clothes from material that her mother had prepared to make her wedding dress with, and hid it until the opportune time came to leave her family home.
   She disguised herself and hid in her cousin`s house. Later she returned to her mother`s house, but she remained steadfast in her decision, despite pressures and reproaches from her family and neighbors.
   When her cousin Paul Yun died a martyr in 1795, she moved to Seoul with her mother and lived there for two years, pretending to be a married woman. In 1797 she received the Sacrament of Baptism from Father James Zhou Wen-mo.
   When her mother died Agatha Yun went to live with Columba Kang Wan-suk. Following the advice of Father James Zhou she and Columba Kang formed a community for celibate women. She was appointed president of the new community and instructed the other celibate women. She practiced strict self-denial and lived according to the Church`s teaching. She also devoted herself to Bible reading and meditation, and became a model for the other believers. Besides, she constantly prayed for the repose of the soul of her mother. She also prayed to die a martyr like her patron St. Agatha.
   In 1801 Agatha Yun was arrested with her other companions and was taken to the Police Headquarters. Repeatedly, she underwent severe interrogation and torture at the Police Headquarters and the Justice Ministry, but she defended her faith in God with unshakable determination. She refused to inform on the other believers or to renounce her faith in God. The persecutors, on realizing that she would not change her mind, sentenced her to death and gave orders to transfer her to her home village for execution to draw people`s attention to the Catholic religion.
   Agatha Yun was then transferred to Yanggeun and was imprisoned with another Catholic woman. Later on her companion gave the following account about Agatha Yun; "Agatha Yun`s attitude was perfectly calm. She ate and talked unlike someone who is destined to die soon. She looked like a person who had transcended everything."
   Agatha Yun offered her life for God on July 4, 1801 (May 24, by the Lunar calendar). It is said that when her throat was cut the blood flowing from it was as white as milk. The following is the final statement she made at the Justice Ministry:
   "I was deeply imbued with the Catholic religion for over ten years. I have believed in it with a firm heart and vowed to dedicate my life to God. Therefore, I cannot change my mind and abandon my faith though I have to die for it, as punishment."