• 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
Jeong Sun-mae (Barbara)
Date of birth 1777 Sex woman Place of birth Yeoju Gyeonggi-do Position/Status Virgin N.C.F.
Age 24 Date or martyrdom Jul. 3 (or Jul. 4), 1801 Place of martyrdom Yeoju Gyeonggi-do Mode of martyrdom beheading
 Barbara Jeong Sun-mae was born in Yeoju, Gyeonggi-do. She learned the catechism from her brother and sister-in-law, in 1795, when she was 19 years old. Her brother was Barnabas Jeong Gwang-su who helped Father James Zhou Wen-mo and was actively involved in Church activities. Her sister-in-law was Lucy Yun Un-hye who came from an outstanding Catholic family. They were all martyred in 1801.
   When she became a Catholic, Barbara Jeong practiced her religion with greater zeal than anyone else. To dedicate herself wholeheartedly to the Lord, she decided to remain a virgin. She pretended to be a widow and said to people around her, “I was married to Mr. Heo, but I have become a widow."
   A few years later Barbara Jeong moved to Seoul. Then she helped her brother and her sister-in-law to spread religious books and objects to the other believers. She became a member of the community of virgins of which Agatha Yun Jeom-hye was the president. Whenever her house was used as a church, she prepared everything with the utmost care. In 1800 she was baptized by Father James Zhou. Barbara Jeong became an even more faithful and devout Catholic after she was baptized.
   Barbara Jeong was arrested during the Shinyu Persecution of 1801. During the interrogation and torture she showed strong courage and professed her faith in God. She never revealed the names of the other believers, but professed her faith in God saying, `I cannot give up my religion even if I have to die.` So the chief official ordered that she be more severely punished. However he failed to achieve his purpose.
   Barbara Jeong was sentenced to death along with the other believers. The judge ordered that she be sent to her hometown, Yeoju, to be executed to turn the village people against the Catholic religion. She was transferred to Yeoju and beheaded on July 3 or 4, 1801 (May 23 or 24, by the Lunar calendar) and died a martyr. Barbara Jeong was 24 years old and single.
   The final statement Barbara Jeong made prior to her death sentence reads as follows:
   "To be punished at the Police Headquarters and to be interrogated severely at the Justice Ministry are very painful. However I cannot change my mind for I love the Catholic religion so much."