• 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
Choe (Brigid)
Date of birth 1783 Sex woman Place of birth Chungcheong-do Position/Status Widow
Age 56 Date or martyrdom Dec. 8 (or Dec. 9), 1839 Place of martyrdom Wonju Gangwon-do Mode of martyrdom hanging
 Brigid Choe became a Catholic with her husband before the Shinyu Persecution of 1801. Her husband was arrested during the Shinyu Persecution for having hidden Alexius Hwang Sa-yeong in his house and was sent into exile. She followed her husband to the place of exile. John Choe Hae-seong who was martyred in 1839 in Wonju was her nephew.
   Brigid Choe‘s husband was taken ill while in exile and died. She baptized her husband because there were no other Catholics. While she administered the Sacrament of Baptism to her dying husband she said to herself, `If my husband regains his health we will live like brother and sister.` However her husband died and she had no one else to rely on. So she went to live with her brother. Her brother was the father of John Choe who died a martyr in 1839.
   In 1839 when the Gihae Persecution broke out John Choe helped her family to escape. He was arrested by the police when he went home to bring Church books and was imprisoned in Wonju. At that time Brigid Choe heard that her nephew John Choe was arrested, so she went to the prison thinking that she might see him without difficulty. But the officers detected her. They asked her who she was, so Brigid replied; "I am the mother of John Choe in prison. I came to see my son." Then they said, "Does this mean that you are also a Catholic?" She replied, "Yes, I am. I am a believer." Then, they said, "Unless you give up that religion, you are not allowed to meet your son or leave from here.` But, Brigid refused to renounce her religion, and said:
   "Though I may die without seeing my son, I cannot betray our God. Nobody should betray God."
   Upon hearing this, the official pronounced Brigid Choe a sinner, and ordered that she be tortured. She did not surrender but endured all the pains. They ordered that she be put into prison and made to starve to death.
   Even through they left Brigid Choe starving she did not die. Four painful months in prison elapsed and Brigid was still alive. Seeing this, the official ordered the prison guards to `bring the news of her death within three days.` The prison guards knew that they could not make her starve to death within three days, so on that night they entered her prison cell and strangled her to death. It was on December 8 or 9, 1839 (November 3 or 4, by the Lunar calendar). Brigid Choe was 56 years old.
   When Brigid Choe was martyred, the mother of a prison guard went to visit a Catholic in prison and said, "Brigid surely went to heaven. When she was strangled to death, we saw a light from her body going up to heaven."