Anastasia Yi Bong-geum ( 1827? -1839)
Anastasia Yi Bong-geum was born around 1827 to Paul Yi Seong-sam and Anastasia Kim Jo-i. At that time her parents were in hiding to escape from the Jeonghae Presecution.
Anastasia Yi who was educated in the Catholic teaching by her mother, at an early age knew how to fulfill her religious duties and loved the Lord with all her heart though she was a very young girl. She was like a little cute angel with a lovely heart. When she was about ten years old, she learned morning and evening prayers and the catechism. She had the opportunity to meet a missionary priest who stayed in her house. Very impressed by her devotion, the missionary allowed her to receive her First Holy Communion though she was considered very young at that time.
Anastasia Yi‘s faith and virtue grew deeper day by day. When the Gihae Persecution broke out in 1839, she escaped with her mother to the house of Protase Hong Jae-yeong. She was arrested there by the police and taken to Jeonju. Anastasia Yi was taken to the chief official for interrogation. The chief official asked her to tell him the whereabouts of the Western missionary. She responded that she was too young to know about such a matter. The chief official tempted her saying, `If you betray and speak ill of God I will spare your life`, but she replied as follows:
"I did not know how to worship the Lord until I reached the use of reason at seven years of age. I was also too young to read books. But, from the age of seven to the present, I have worshipped the Lord. Therefore, I cannot betray Him nor speak ill of him even if I must die a thousand times."
Anastasia Yi was taken to the prison without being tortured because of her young age. Her mother pretended to doubt her faith and said; "You surely will betray the Lord as you have no courage to endure torture." Young Anastasia Yi 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."
The chief official and prison guards asked Anastasia Yi to save her life because she was young and a cute girl, but she did not fall into this trap. The chief official called her again and threatened her many times, but she did not yield under such pressure. On realizing that she would never change her mind, he ordered that she be tortured.
Anastasia Yi had to witness her mother`s martyrdom in prison and became an orphan with no one to rely on in the world. Trusting in the Lord`s love, she continued to keep her heroic resolution to the end. The chief official ordered that she be hanged in prison in the middle of the night. It was either on December 5 or 6, 1839 (October 30 or November 1, by the Lunar calendar). She did not reach the age of twelve.