Andrew Pak Sa-ui (1792-1839)
Andrew Pak Sa-ui, also called ‘Sasim`, was the son of Paul Pak Gyeong-hwa who died a martyr in 1827 in Daegu. Andrew Pak was born in Hongju, Chungcheong-do to a noble family. `Sa-ui` was his adult name.
When Andrew Pak was born, his father was already a Catholic so he grew up in a Christian family. His faith in God became deeper as he got older. His exemplary life was so obvious that it attracted the attention of the people around him. He was a dutiful son and his neighbors respected him.
He moved with his family to Gamagi in Danyang, Chungcheong-do. Soon after he settled there, his devotion, filial piety and charity were known to many people. His family was poor because they gave up their wealth when they left their hometown. However, they offered hospitality to all the Catholics who visited them.
When the Jeonghae Persecution broke out in 1827, Andrew Pak moved with his family to Meongemok in Sangju, Gyeongsang-do. In late April of that year his family and the other Catholics were arrested while they were celebrating the Solemnity of the Ascension of Jesus Christ.
He was taken to Sangju where he demonstrated great patience and courage, in the same way as his father did. Despite threats and torture, he professed his faith in God. He was then transferred to Daegu where Andrew Pak endured several punishments with his deep faith. His greatest suffering was to watch his old father, gradually losing his strength. He asked the chief official to allow him to take care of his ailing father. Moved by his filial piety, the chief official allowed him to stay in the same prison cell with his father. The filial piety he showed to his father in prison impressed everybody.
Andrew Pak endured all the sufferings and pains of this punishment with courage and deep faith. His father, who was too old to endure the hardship, died a martyr in prison in September 1827.
Though the governor of Daegu pronounced the death sentence on Andrew Pak and his companions the royal court did not order the executions. As a result, they spent twelve years in prison. When the Gihae Persecution broke out in 1839, the persecutors interrogated and tortured them again to force them to betray their religion. The following is an excerpt from the written sentence the governor submitted to the king:
"Pak Sa-ui learned the Catholic doctrine and believed in God with all his heart. So we want to execute him according to the national law."
The other Catholics who were imprisoned during that time were Andrew Pak Sa-ui, Andrew Kim Sa-geon and Andrew Yi Jae-haeng. When they heard that the king had finally ordered their executions, they exulted. They distributed their clothes and belongings to the other prisoners.
On May 26, 1839 (April 14, by the Lunar calendar), Andrew Pak was taken out to the execution ground with the other faithful. They were beheaded and died martyrs. Andrew Pak was 47 years old.
The prisoners and prison guards felt sorry for the death of these three martyrs for they had shown them excellent example. The police took their bodies and buried them with great reverence. The faithful remembered them with respect for a long time.