Peter Jo Yong-sam (?-1801)
Peter Jo Yong-sam was born in Yanggeun, Gyeonggi-do. His mother died when he was young and he was raised by his father. His father was poor, and Peter Jo was fragile, both physically and emotionally. He was shabby looking, so people laughed at him. He still had not married even when he was 30 years old.
Peter Jo went to live with his father at Im Hui-young`s house in Yeoju. It was there that he heard about the Catholic teaching for the first time. He learned the catechism from Augustine Jeong Yak-jong. Despite being mocked by the people, his teacher Augustine Jeong led him to God gradually. He encouraged him and complimented him.
On April 15, 1800, when Peter Jo was a catechumen, he went with his father to Jeong Jong-ho`s house in Yeoju to celebrate Easter Sunday. There he was arrested by the police with Martin Yi Jung-bae and John Won Gyeong-do.
Though he was only a catechumen Peter Jo showed strong faith in God when he was arrested. Despite severe punishment he professed his faith in God. The persecutors became very angry at him and beat him even harder, but it was in vain. Finally they took his father from prison, and threatened him, saying, `if you do not renounce the Catholic religion, your father shall be killed immediately.` They beat his father in front of him.
Peter Jo finally surrendered, and was set free. While walking out of the government office, he happened to meet Martin Yi who advised and encouraged him to remain faithful to his faith in God. He repented his mistake immediately, went back to the chief official and professed his faith in God.
Peter Jo`s faith was never shaken again. The persecutors tortured him more severely, thinking that they would be able to change his mind, as they had before. But this time it was different. He was then taken to the governor`s office in Gyeonggi-do, and was interrogated and tortured many more times.
In the meantime the Shinyu Persecution broke out in 1801 and many Catholics were arrested all over the country. At that time Jo Yong-sam was baptized in prison and given the Christian name `Peter`. He impressed many Catholics by his good deeds and words.
Peter Jo was taken again to the governor in February 1801. The governor severely tortured him to force him to renounce the Catholic religion. His fragile body could not endure torture anymore. He finally surrendered his life to God some days after he was imprisoned. It was on March 27, 1801 (February 14, by the Lunar calendar). During the last torture, he professed his faith in God as follows:
"There are not two Lords in the Heaven, and there are not two hearts in a human person. What I want to do is to die for the Lord one time. I have nothing more to say."