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St. Mark Chong Ui-bae

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Birth: ~1794
Death: 1866
Canonized By: Pope John Paul II

Mark Chong Ui-bae had been a forty-six-year-old pagan Korean scholar of the Chinese language who had regarded Christianity as a dangerous menace when in 1839 he witnessed the martyrdoms of the missionaries (Saints) Lawrence Imbert, Pierre Maubant, and Jacques Chastan. Struck by the inexplicable joy of the martyrs, he decided to satisfy his curiosity by purchasing several Catholic books. He was won over by what he read, observing, "I had always believed that a Christian could not possibly be a good man, but now I know that in order to be truly a good man, one must be a Christian." Mark's conversion was total, leading him to devote himself to catechizing others and to visiting the sick, whom he would prepare for the arrival of the priest bringing them the sacraments. The future martyr, (Saint) Bishop Simeon Berneux, said of this zealous convert, "If only I could win as good a place for myself in heaven as he will!" Following his arrest by the pagan authorities, Mark, now seventy-two years old, was tortured, but refused to betray his faith, and suffered beheading along with two priests.


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