Candida Jeong Bok-hye ( ? -1801)
Candida Jeong Bok-hye, known as ‘widow Jeong` among Catholics, was born near Seoul to a common class family. After her marriage she lived in Seoul. By 1790 she met Yi Hap-gyu and studied the catechism from him, and was baptized by him.
Candida Jeong participated in Church activities with a passion and taught the catechism to her son and elder brother. When her husband died she fully dedicated her life to the Church. She and Agatha Han Sin-ae and Lucy Yun Un-hye served as messengers among the Catholics and sold books made by the faithful. Furthermore, she gave catechism lessons and tried to proclaim the Good News to people, with other Catholics.
When the Shinyu Persecution broke out in 1801, Candida Jeong hid the religious objects and books in Agatha Han`s house and helped other faithful to take refuge. Soon, however, her name and activities became known to the persecutors. Finally she was arrested in February of the following year and was taken to the Justice Ministry.
The Justice Ministry sent her to the Police Headquarters for interrogation, and called her back for another session of interrogation and torture, to force her to betray God. In the course of such punishment she lost courage momentarily. But, she immediately regretted and repented her weakness and confessed openly about her activities.
Candida Jeong was taken with other faithful outside the Small West Gate in Seoul and there she was beheaded and died a martyr. It was on May 14, 1801 (April 2, by the Lunar calendar).
The written sentence of death by the Justice Ministry reads as follows:
"Together with male Catholics, you misguided women into wrong ways. You hid Catholic books and religious articles in Han Sin-ae`s house with the intention of using them to spread the Catholic religion later on. Therefore, you deserve to die ten thousand times."