Job Yi Il-eon (1767-1839)
Job Yi Il-eon who was born in Daebeol, Hongju, Chungcheong-do, learned the catechism from his father, Yi Jeom-son, before 1801 and became a Catholic. His adult name was Tae-mun.
Job Yi was arrested during the Shinyu Persecution in 1801, and was exiled to Anui, Gyeongsang-do. He was imprisoned again because he was hated by the magistrate. He was not even allowed to drink water. He spent ten years in prison suffering insults and maltreatment, but he endured all for the love of God. He was a shining example of what it meant to be a Catholic. He was under house arrest for some time under the order of the magistrate.
From 1815 Job Yi lived with his wife in Anui. In May 1826 he was freed from house arrest, and he moved to Imsil, Jeolla-do where he practiced the Catholic teaching and devoted himself to proclaiming the Gospel to his neighbors.
The following year the Jeonghae Persecution broke out, and his wife asked him to escape. But he did not listen to her, rather, he lamented, "I resent that I could not die a martyr earlier. As I am living in such a remote place I have no chance to offer my life to the Lord. How miserable I am."
Three days later the police of Jeonju rushed into his house and arrested him. Then he thought his dream finally had come through and gladly followed them. In the course of interrogation, the governor of Jeonju discovered his activities in the past, and ordered to beat him harshly. Though he was short and of slender build, he endured all the pains with strong faith in God, which influenced the people. The persecutors said to one another, "We are mistaken by his appearance. He must be a leader of Catholics." Interrogation and torture continued for nights and days, but Job Yi`s faith was never shaken. Then the governor pronounced the death sentence on him and ordered that he be put in prison.
Job Yi had to stay in the Jeonju prison for twelve years with Peter Kim Dae-gwon. He signed his death sentence on three different occasions, and refused any action to save his life. During the Gihae Persecution in 1839, Job Yi was taken to the market place in Jeonju and was beheaded according to the order of the king and died a martyr. It was on May 29, 1839 (April 17, by the Lunar calendar). He was 72 years old.
When Job Yi was being taken to the execution ground, his children followed him, crying. He said to them. "I suffered for a long time in prison. Today I am going to Heaven. Why do you cry? Be happy for my good luck. Be happy that your father dies for Jesus Christ. I recommend you to be good Catholics."