• 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
Ku Seong-yeol (Barbara)
Date of birth 1776 Sex woman Place of birth Hongju Chungcheong-do Position/Status
Age 40 Date or martyrdom Dec. 19, 1816 Place of martyrdom Daegu Gyeongsang-do Mode of martyrdom beheading
 Barbara Ku Seong-yeol came from Hongju, Chungcheong-do. She was by nature mild, patient and so virtuous that she was noticed by other people. She was baptized prior to the Shinyu Persecution which broke out in 1801. She lost her first husband and married Andrew Seo Seok-bong. From then on people called her Seo Kwa-bu, which means ‘widow Seo`.
   Barbara Ku and her husband moved to the Noraesan Christian Village in Cheongsong, Gyeongsang-do (now, Norae 2-dong, Andeok-myeon, Cheongsong-gun, Gyeongbuk) with their daughter and son-in-law Francis Choe Bong-han. On Easter Sunday in 1815, a betrayer brought the police to the Noraesan Christian Village. All the believers there were arrested and taken to Gyeongju. She was severely punished but overcame the ordeal with courage.
   As soon as Barbara Ku was transferred to Gyeongju, she had to endure more cruel treatment. It seemed that her will gradually weakened to the point of giving up. Seeing her, her son-in-law Francis Choe consoled her, saying, `It is a great honor and blessing to die for Christ.` Thanks to him, Barbara Ku resolved anew and was able to overcome all the suffering.
   Then, Barbara Ku was transferred with her husband, son-in-law and other companions to Daegu which was ruled by the governor. There she had to go through severe interrogations and torture many times. She was imprisoned for more than seventeen months. In the meantime, her husband and son-in-law died in prison.
   Despite all these sufferings and hardships, Barbara Ku consistently professed her faith in God. She was then sentenced to death. On December 19, 1816 (November 1, by the Lunar calendar), she was beheaded with other Catholics at the execution ground in Daegu and died a martyr. Barbara Ku was about 40 years old.
   Barbara Ku`s body was buried somewhere near the execution ground. On March 2 of the following year, relatives and Catholics took it and buried it again in an appropriate place.
   Before their judicial decision, on realizing that Andrew Seo Seok-bong and Barbara Ku would not deny their faith in God, the governor of Daegu reported to the royal court as follows:
   "Seo Seok-bong and his wife Ku Seong-yeol were so deeply imbued with the Catholic religion, that they would never repent."