Anastasia Kim Jo-i (1789-1839)
Anastasia Kim Jo-i was born in Deoksan, Chungcheong-do to a common class family. When she grew up she married Paul Yi Seong-sam. She learned the catechism from her husband and became a Catholic.
Anastasia Kim was a gentle person and was loved by many people. But after becoming a Catholic she was loved even more. Her family was like a model of the holy family to all Catholics. She led her religious life with sincerity and tried to give a good education on the catechism to her children. Furthermore she committed herself to instruct the village women, and her encouragement and advice were appreciated by them.
When the Jeonghae Persecution broke out in 1827, Anastasia Kim and her husband escaped and she gave birth to a daughter, Anastasia Yi Bong-geum. During that time they had the opportunity to have a missionary stay with them and to serve him. The couple received the Sacrament of Baptism from the priest and their daughter received her First Holy Communion. During the Gihae Persecution of 1839 her family was threatened again by the persecution.
When the persecution was announced Anastasia Kim‘s husband was not home. As her family was already known to the police she had to escape. She hesitated for a moment, then she took her daughter with her and escaped to the house of Protase Hong Jae-yeong who was in exile in Gwangju, Jeolla-do. She was arrested there with other Catholics and taken to Jeonju.
In Jeonju, Anastasia Kim had to go through interrogation and torture many times to force her to give up her faith and confess the whereabouts of her husband, but, she refused. Then, she was tortured more cruelly. She was taken to the governor for further interrogation, and was put in prison. Her young daughter also professed bravely to her faith in God and was imprisoned.
One day when her daughter Anastasia Yi returned to the prison cell after being interrogated, Anastasia Kim pretended to doubt her daughter`s faith and said; "You surely will betray the Lord as you have no courage to endure torture." Her daughter strongly denied it saying she would not, and promised her mother to stay faithful to the teaching of the Church no matter what kind of torture she had to undergo.
Anastasia Kim was taken to the governor and she signed the written death sentence. She was flogged severely and waited for the judicial decision of the royal court, in prison. Despite her ardent desire to die a martyr by decapitation she died from the sickness she contracted in prison and from her severe wounds. It was about October 1839. She was 50 years old.
The following is an excerpt from the written sentence that the governor of Jeolla-do presented to the royal court:
"Kim Jo-i was instructed in the Catholic teaching by her husband and was baptized by a European missionary. She was so deeply imbued with the Catholic religion that she refused to change her mind. Therefore beheading would not even be enough for her sin."