The Spanish daily “La Razon” is reporting that the process of beatification for 36 Benedictine monks who died in prisons and concentration camps in Communist Korea will soon begin.
The 36 martyrs died during the persecution of the Stalinist regime of Kim Il-sung between 1949 and 1952. According to “La Razon,” “this process will provide proof of the missionary work carried out by these religious during the years of their captivity. They offered comfort, spiritual support, administered the sacraments, preached, and gave hope to all those whom they met.”
As soon as approval is granted by the respective dioceses of Pyongyang, Hamhung and Takwon, promoters of the cause will begin to collect testimonies and documents for the diocesan phase. The Benedictines of St. Ottillia in Korea will play a key role in the initial phase.
The group of martyrs includes Abbot Bonifacio Sauer and Father Benedict Kim.
According to “La Razon,” the opening of the cause for beatification represents a step forward since previously the Seoul government attempted to cover up the facts surrounding the case and thus avoid a ‘diplomatic incident’ with the current Communist regime in North Korea.”
An estimated 300,000 Christians died or disappeared during the Communist persecution. Father Sabas Lee Seong-geun, vice postulator of the cause, told the Spanish daily, “They all died in North Korean prisons during the terrible wave of anti-Catholic persecution perpetrated after the Communists came to power.”