The Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosay of Namyang

the cross in the rosary plaza

4. THE ROSARY HILL AND THE KOREAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

imageIt can be said that the history of the Catholic Church in Korea is one of persecution. Within the first 100 years of its establishment, there were numerous periods of persecution, especially during the Great Byungin Persecution. Begun in 1886, over ten thousand believers were martyred. The severity of the persecution can be discerned in the fact that the number of Catholics in Korea at the time was somewhere around 23,000! Rosary Hill at Namyang is one of the places where a large number of Catholics were martyred during the Great Byungin Persecution.

From the beginning, the native initiative among scholars in Korea studying western culture resulted in their special devotion to the idea of Mary's "Immaculate Conception" originally imparted to the Korean faithful by the French missionaries. Upon the request by Bishop Enbert Bum, the second bishop of the Korean Diocese, Mary became, along with Joseph, the co-patron saint of Korea on August 22, 1847. Devotion to Mary's Immaculate

the cross lying on the point that the rosary road statrs

Conception had been encouraged by the early missionaries. This effort bore fruit on November 2, 1846 when Surichi Village in Gongju, largely thanks to Bishop Daveluy Ahn's effort, saw the formation of the first Society of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. This was proof positive that the early missionaries wanted the Korean believers to live as purely as the Mary of Immaculate Conception in hopes of helping the Savior, Jesus Christ, to triumph and attain victory. This determination made a lasting impression on the believers who would overcome the prosecutions and learn to love Mary and obtain help from her in times of hardships.

Many records and witness accounts of the early Church in Korea testify to the extent to which the martyrs sought help from Mary and the Rosary to overcome the cruelty of persecution. Later relics show many martyrs clutching the Rosary beads in their hands as they met their death. Rosary Hill is the very place where the Korean Catholics can feel this legacy from the early martyrs and renew their devotion to Mary anytime their spirit prompts them.