The families received permission from the governor to receive their bodies, and they soaked handkerchiefs in the blood of the martyrs’ wounds. There were healings reported at the time from the sick who touched the handkerchiefs.
Francis Yun Ji-heon (윤지헌 프란치스코) was the younger brother of Paul Yun Ji-chung, who catechized him. After his brother was martyred, Francis Yun was forced to leave his hometown, but continued to transcribe religious books and led many people to discover the Catholic faith.
He was arrested in 1801 at the age of 37 and was subjected to severe torture and interrogation in the Jeonju governor’s office.
“I cannot abandon the Church’s teaching which I have loved so much to the point that it has penetrated deep into my bones and become part of my very body. I have no choice but to say I will die for it 10,000 times ... I do not fear the national law because I believe firmly in the doctrine of heaven and hell,” he is recorded as saying.
Francis Yun was martyred in Jeonju by being hacked to pieces on Oct. 24, 1801. His wife and children were exiled.
Bishop Kim said in his announcement that a canonical process examining the evidence had concluded on Aug. 18 with a declaration that the relics of the three blesseds were authentic.
“It is God’s will to allow us to see the remains of the first martyrs so that we can imitate the spirituality of the martyrs. The world we live in right now is falling into darkness. … Our society has long been prioritizing money and health over God and individualism rather than solidarity,” Kim said.
The bishop said that he hoped that reflection on the “spirituality of martyrdom can renew ourselves and our times.”
Catholics in Korea celebrate the witness of their country’s Catholic martyrs throughout September, culminating in the feast of the Korean Martyrs on Sept. 20.
This year the Church is also celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Korea’s first priest, St. Andrew Kim Taegon.
Between 8,000 to 10,000 Korean Christians were killed in the 19th century for refusing to deny Christ.
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Pope Francis beatified Paul Yun Ji-chung, James Kwon Sang-yeon, and Francis Yun Ji-heon along with 121 other Korean martyrs in August 2014.
“The victory of the martyrs, their witness to the power of God’s love, continues to bear fruit today in Korea, in the Church which received growth from their sacrifice,” the pope said.