Peter Jeong San-pil (1739?-1799)
Peter Jeong San-pil was born in Deoksan, Chungcheong-do, to a commoner family. He was reckless and strong willed. Everyone was afraid of him; however, when he became a Catholic, he grew in humility and gentleness, and was kind to everyone.
At the end of 1794, when Father James Zhou Wen-mo came to Korea, Peter Jeong went to visit him and was baptized. He was appointed as the catechist in the Naepo region, where he faithfully performed his duties. He prayed and read religious books with zeal, and devoted himself to teaching the catechism to those around him.
He and his close friends Lawrence Pak Chwi-deuk, James Won Si-bo and Francis Bang met frequently and practiced their religion. When the Jeongsa Persecution broke out in 1797, all three were eventually arrested and martyred.
Peter Jeong was arrested in either 1798 or 1799 and taken to the government office of Deoksan. During his detention, Peter Jeong underwent harsh interrogations and frequent torture, but throughout he bravely testified to the teachings of God. In prison he encouraged other Catholics in the faith and professed his own faith in God without fear. He remained serene even when he had to sign his written death sentence. On his execution day, after receiving his last meal Peter Jeong invited his fellow Christians to eat with him, and said:
“God created this food for people, so let’s say a last prayer of thanksgiving and share it. We will soon enjoy everlasting happiness in Heaven.”
After eating, Peter Jeong was taken to the execution ground and beheaded for his faith in God. Peter Jeong was executed in 1799 and was in his fifties.