The Forsaken Hills A Novel of the Korean War


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Jesus Christ has risen from the dead and is living in his Church today. Paul Chong Hasang was one of the lay leaders who have participated in the establishment of the early Korean Catholic Church. After these incidents, it seemed impossible to reconstruct the devastated Korean Catholic community. Paul Chong Hasang who gathered the scattered Korean Catholic members and ignited their hearts with the raging flames of faith. Furthermore, he reorganized the structures and activities of the Korean Catholic church and initiated a movement for the Beijing Bishop to send priests to Korea. To accomplish this mission, from , he has crossed the China borders nine times, overcoming many dangers and fiercely cold weathers, totaling Km of round trips.

He entered the China territory as a lowly servant to the Korean diplomatic members who have made their annual tributary missions to China to exchange gifts with the Chinese Emperor. By using these opportunities in Beijing, St.

Paul Chong requested many times that the Beijing Bishop send priests to Korea. As many of his attempts failed, he directly pleaded the case to Pope Gregory X. First, he was the leader of the early Korean Catholic Church during the persecution period, during which he provided the essential momentum to establish the Korean Catholic Diocese with progressive and worldly vision.

Second, he contributed greatly to the development of the Korean Catholic Church by dedicating his life to accommodating and assisting the priests who were sent to Korea after the establishment of the Korean Catholic Archdiocese. Third, he was one of the seminary students of Bishop Imbert to become a priest. However, during the Gi Hye Persecution in , the bishop and St. Paul Chong Hasang were martyred, unfortunately he was unable to actualize his dream of becoming a priest. Fourth, he wrote a document declaring the position of the Korean Catholic Church that the Catholic faith is good for the nation but not a threat, the Sang-Je-Sang-Su.

In this document, he firmly pleaded to the persecutors to stop persecuting Catholic members. The document, Sang-Je-Sang-Su, is a short writing of only two thousands words but, it is a well written Catholic doctrine explaining why the Korean government should not persecute Catholics. Fifth, his martyrdom became the testimony of his faith toward Christ and through his eternal glory, he became the pinnacle of the Korean Catholic faith. Two months later, his mother, Yu Cecilia, passed away during the imprisonment and the following month, his younger sister, Jung Hye was also martyred.

It is not certain whether Kim A-gi Agatha was captured with them or at her own home. In any event, the three of them were taken into custody on the same day. In prison they found themselves in the company of several other Catholics. Next was Han A-gi Barbara. No less brave than Pak A-gi Anna, her body was a bloody mess when they had finished with her. Next Kim Agatha was called. And in spite of the tortures Agatha could not be persuaded to change her mind.

Seeing this the police commissioner had them moved to prison. When the other Catholic prisoners saw Kim A-gi Agatha arriving they cheerfully greeted her. Because of her inability to learn the doctrine and prayers Kim A-gi Agatha had not yet been baptized. She was the first to be baptized in prison during the persecution. Baptism gave her new strength and with it she went on to overcome terrible torture and punishment.

Finally May 24, , arrived. When all was ready guards brought the condemned prisoners out and tied them to the crosses by the arms and hair. A foot rest was put under their feet and the signal given to depart. When they arrived at the steep hill on which the Small West Gate is situated the guards suddenly pulled away the foot rests and the drivers urged the oxen to run headlong down.

The rad is rough, with many stones. The carts lurched, causing extreme agony to the prisoners who were hung on the crosses by their arms and hair. The execution ground is a the foot of the hill. The guards took the prisoners from the crosses and tore off their clothes. The executioners tied their hair to the wooden beam and proceeded to cut off their heads. In accordance with the law the bodies were left at the execution site for three days.

We buried the bodies of the martyrs at a place I had prepared earlier. I would have liked to have dressed the bodies in fine clothes and anointed them with expensive perfume, in the European manner. However, we are poor and to dress the bodies in this way would have been a burden on the Catholics, so we just wrapped them in straw matting. Now we have many protectors in heaven.

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When the day of religious freedom comes to Korea, as I know it will, these bodies will be a precious heritage. Yu Chin-gil Augustine came from a family of government officials. Among the Korean martyrs, he was one of three who held government posts and the father of the year-old martyr, St. He was known as a man of deep contemplation. Curious about the origin and meaning of natural phenomena, especially philosophical and religious truths on the origin of man he spent much of the night examining the texts of Neo-Confucianism looking for answers. However, the more he studied the classics the more dissatisfied he became with the Tae-geuk-eum-yang traditional Korean explanation of reality.

His search led him on to investigate the teachings of Taoism and Buddhism. What is the origin of the universe? Is it the Li basic principle that Neo-Confucianists talked about or is it the Kong emptiness of Buddhism or the Mu nothingness of Taoism? In his youth he heard of the Catholics who had been arrested and killed. He began to wonder if the books they had studied could be of any help to him. One day he came upon an old chest hidden away in a corner of the house. Such terms had not appeared in any of the books he had read.

On tearing off the sheets and putting them together he found the parts of the book called the Cheon-ju-sil-ui True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven. The first Catholic writings had been brought into Korea by envoys or interpreters who had gone on official business to Beijing. Yu Chin-gil went over the torn pages a number of times. They touched on the questions that had bothered him. But the few torn pages were not enough to satisfy him. So in the hope of finding a complete copy he began to inquire as to where he could meet Catholics.

They had a long conversation and found that they were of the same mind. He discovered the one who created and supervised the world. It was not the basic principle that Neo-Confucianists talked about nor was it the Kong of Buddhism or the Mu of Taosim. It is the Lord who resides in Heaven. Humans have not only bodies but also souls, so when people die their bodies are disintegrated but their souls are immortal and subject to the final judgement of God.

This indeed is the correct truth. Soon he was ready to enter the Church. Through a meeting of Western and Eastern thought, Yu Chin-gil solved the question that had troubled him most. He was introduced to Chung Ha-sang Paul and other Catholics. At that time, following the persecution of when Father Chu Mun-mo, Chinese priest sent from Beijing, was martyred, there was not a priest in Korea. The Catholics who had survived were struggling to re-establish the Church and to have another priest sent in from China.

Even though he had not yet received baptism, on the instructions of Chung Ha-sang Paul, he recited morning prayer and evening prayer each day and faithfully followed the Ten Commandments. In October of the winter diplomatic delegation was preparing to go to China. Yu Chin-gil did not want to miss this opportunity, so he made every efforts to be included as an interpreter and to have the noble-born Chung Ha-sang Paul to accompany him disguised as a servant.

The delegation safely arrived in Beijing.

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Avoiding their companions, the two Catholics slipped off to meet the Bishop of Beijing. In Chinese, Yu asked him for baptism. The Bishop was delighted to receive visitors from so far away but felt he should question Yu Chin-gil to find out how much he knew about the teachings of the Church.

Yu Chin-gil replied with the answers exactly as they were in the catechism. Why are humans born into the world?

If you leave me : a novel, Crystal Hana Kim

The Forsaken Hills A Novel of the Korean War - Kindle edition by RL Lahr. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. The Forsaken Hills A Novel of the Korean War has 12 ratings and 0 reviews. PFC James Hunter and an under strength task force from the 24th.

Yu Chin-gil was baptized during a special Mass. He returned to his lodgings but was unable to sleep. He felt as though his heart was shining brightly in the dark room. He was moved by a deep religious experience.

He knelt down and prayed. Send priests to our land so that the people there who live in darkness might have the joy of receiving the Eucharist. Give me the deep faith, strength and courage that I need. The Korean envoys learned from the priests in Beijing about practical sciences and Western inventions.

In their discussions with the Western priests they became familiar with many aspects of Western learning. They were particularly surprised to learn that China was not the center of the world nor the most enlightened nation in the world. They were surprised to hear that humans were not created as nobles or commoners, but the division was a social system by which the nobles oppressed the commoners.

Humans were all equal before God and all brothers and sisters in Christ, the Son of God. With words like equality, universal love and freedom ringing in his ears, Yu Chin-gil Augustine felt as if the teachings of the Chinese sages had come crashing down around him. It was as if he had heard the roar of thunder and seen Jesus rise from Golgotha. It was a sign of faith and a discovery of God. Even before he had set out for Beijing he had a faith that did not fear death, but after meeting the Western priests his understanding had deepened and his eyes had grown brighter.

Korean Catholics, because of their faith, were to lead a profound change in the consciousness of the Korean people. In a nation which did not know such a God, they were to sow seeds which would alter lives.

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This was due to their own love of truth and the providence of God. Yu Chin-gil, Augustine and Chong Ha-sang Paul asked the priests to see the bishop who welcomed them and asked about the need of the Church in Korea. Yu Chin-gil Augustine told him of the difficulties they had to overcome in order to meet the bishop. Their Church was in a pitiful state. For almost 20 years it was without a priest. Yu Chin-gil Augustine was fortunate in being able to come to China and receive baptism, but there were many catechumens in Korea who were unable to receive baptism and many Catholics who could not receive Confirmation, Confession, the Eucharist or the other sacraments.

The bishop was moved by what they said. He replied regretfully that, because of the persecutions in China, priests could not go into that country freely either and so he had no one to send to Korea. However, if they wrote directly to the Pope explaining the situation the bishop would do all he could to support their request. They returned to their lodging and composed the following letter requesting priests. Holy Father, With troubled heart we greet Your Holiness and seek your help. Zhou Mun-mo was martyred, the spread of the Gospel has been blocked by persecutions.

About one thousand believers remain in hiding and can do little by way of witness or evangelization. No matter how much truth the teaching of the Korean Church contains, if the Church continues in its present form that truth will be wasted. Because our brains are dull the teaching of the Church do not bear fruit and the grace of God is being blocked. Those dying from old age or sickness cannot receive the Last Rites and go to their graves in sorrow. Those they leave behind endure in grief and are tired of life.

Sorrow and pain are gradually eating into our hearts. Therefore, despite the dangers involved, we have on a number of occasions asked the Bishop of Beijing to help us. The bishop sympathizes with us in our concern and would like to send priests to give new life to souls that have fallen into sin, but he has no one available. Having explained the situation in Korea in this way, they suggested that there might be missionaries in Macao who could come to their assistance. They went on to state the way that the priests should come, if they came by boat, how many sailors they would need, what dangers to avoid, the best places to land and how to handle any officials they might encounter.

When they had finished the letter to the Pope they gave it to the bishop.

This Kind of War

The bishop, in turn, sent it to the representative of the Congregation for Evangelization in Macao, Fr. Umpierres, who translated it into Latin and sent it on to the Pope on December 3, News of the letter they had sent to the Pope gave new hope and courage to the fragile Church. When Yu Chin-gil Augustine returned home good news awaited him. This initiative was due to the letter of which so moved the Pope. Bishop Bruguiere, who had been working in Bangkok, Thailand, received news of his appointment as first bishop of Korea sometime after July 25, Unfortunately, in his efforts to enter Korea, Bishop Bruguiere fell ill in Yodong while traveling towards Korea and died on October 20, This news soon reached Korea.

You Chin-gil Augustine and his companions were much saddened, but determined to keep up their efforts to help other priests to enter the country. Meantime, You Chin-gil Augustine acted like a priest and converted many prominent people and scholars. You Chin-gil Augustine was arrested at home in July of Many of his relatives begged him to renounce his religion, but he refused to do so. They reminded him of what would happen to his family, position and property, but You Chin-gil Augustine told them that it was more important to save souls than to take care of bodies, although he was sorry to cause trouble for them.

The police chief interrogated. Reveal where the Catholics and the books are hidden. Augustine told him that they came to Korea to teach Korean people about God and to help them save their souls. The police chief questioned who brought them to Korea. You Chin-gil Augustine said that he did. The police chief then brought in Bishop Imbert and questioned them together. His legs were twisted and tied with ropes, and were bleeding profusely. Who among the Catholics masterminded this? Since you have abandoned the beautiful customs and ritual of your country and accepted the treacherous ways of the foreigner, even if you were put to death ten thousand times, would the punishment not be too light?

This is a solemn interrogation. So answer carefully without any deceit. However, You Chin-gil Augustine answered them calmly. When I reflected on what I learned, I realized that there are various sacraments and procedures in the Church which can be performed only by a priest. Since God is the supreme Lord of heaven and earth, we have to believe in Him and praise Him. The only crime I committed is to deceive the king since this teaching is prohibited in our country.

I have already spent three months in jail. Among the Catholics I know, some have suffered the death penalty, some are held in prison and the rest have been scattered like the wind. Since I was born and have lived in the capital how could I know anything about the people in the country? Which is the worse?

My only sin was to deceive the king.

Once an Eagle

After this, You Chin-gil Augustine was tortured on two further occasions. His flesh was torn apart and his bones terribly crushed. But his faith did not waver and received the death sentence. On the way to the place of execution You Chin-gil Augustine showed no sign of fear. It was as if he had no interest in the things of the world and was lost in contemplation.

With serene faces he was beheaded. Kim Song-im was a year old pagan widow. Her husband was of a very uncompromising temperament and they did not thave a peaceful relationship. This was before Kim Song-im became a Catholic. The situation became so bad taht she had no choice but to separate from her husband. She left quietly and went to live in Hanyang.

There she met and lived with a blind man who made a living by telling fortunes. At this stage she was over fifty but she still had not learned about the Catholic faith. With this encounter she began to believe in God and her faith grown eventually. Some Catholic came to her aid. Martha began working in the houses of the Catholic firneds to repay their help. It was during this period that her faith grew deeper and she repented of her past sins, her inability to put up with her first husband and her subsenquent living by superstition.

At times Martha felt deep sorrow but in her total dependence on the Lord she came through her depression The concern and Christian example of the other Catholics made her realize and confirm how great is the love of God. They were so deeply moved by the love of God that all decided to give themselves up to the government authorities to profess their faith.

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They wanted to do mortification and sacrifice following the cross of Jesus Christ. The Hisotry of the Catholic Church in Korea says: However, it might have been evoked by divine grace, or God might have given His tacit approval to them, because the women were steadfast in their faith and wanting to be witness of God by being martyrs. There are other laudable examples in church history, such as St. By the end of March or in the beginning of April of these courageous women went to the police station and told the police to put them in prison because they were Catholics. To the unbelieving policemen they showed their rosaries.

The police tied them up and put them in prison. Therefore, it can be easily understood that these pious women courageously endured all tortures and pains for the love of God. We surendered ourselves for the sake of God. They were repeatedly and severly tortured. The courageous women were sent to the higher court, where they were interrogated atain. The police chief tortured the women more severly than others to punish them for surrendering themselves. They were finally sentenced to death. According to the government Sungjongwon Diary, these four pious women and four otehr Catholics were beheaded outside the Small West Gate on July 20th, Summary An emotionally riveting debut novel about war, family, and forbidden love, the unforgettable saga of two ill-fated lovers in Korea and the heartbreaking choices they're forced to make in the years surrounding the civil war that still haunts us today.

When the communist-backed army from the north invades her home, sixteen-year-old Haemi Lee, along with her widowed mother and ailing brother, is forced to flee to a refugee camp along the coast. For a few hours each night, she escapes her family's makeshift home and tragic circumstances with her childhood friend, Kyunghwan. Focused on finishing school, Kyunghwan doesn't realize his older and wealthier cousin, Jisoo, has his sights set on the beautiful and spirited Haemi, and is determined to marry her before joining the fight.

But as Haemi becomes a wife, then a mother, her decision to forsake the boy she always loved for the security of her family sets off a dramatic saga that will have profound effects for generations to come. Richly told and deeply moving, If You Leave Me is a stunning portrait of war and refugee life, a passionate and timeless romance, and a heartrending exploration of one woman's longing for autonomy in a rapidly changing world. Label If you leave me: Library Locations Map Details. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem?

Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. PFC James Hunter and an under strength task force from the 24th Division had the unfortunate distinction to be the first American troops to engage a communist enemy when The Cold War turned hot in The outbreak of the Korean War. Am PFC James Hunter and an under strength task force from the 24th Division had the unfortunate distinction to be the first American troops to engage a communist enemy when The Cold War turned hot in America was also a country in the midst of an economic boom unparalleled in history.

No one wanted or was ready for another brutal war yet wanted or not it exploded onto the world stage. The first call went to the closest troops, those of the 8th United States Army doing occupation duty in Japan. General Douglas MacArthur's command was not ready. Virtually overnight young GIs were rushed to Korea to confront a ruthless and skillful opponent.

The Americans found themselves equipped with hand-me-down weapons, poorly trained and physically unprepared for the hostile hills and the horrors of combat. Hunter and his comrades in the 24th Division fought a series of losing battles trading blood and space for time while America stirred to action behind them. With each action these men learned how to fight, kill and survive. The Forsaken Hills tells a story of those GIs.