Refuge of Sinners {From the archives}

I wrote this post several years ago when I was blogging with Ute at Flowers Round the Cross. I discovered it this week when I was looking for another post, and, I loved this short gem enough to repost.  Also, St. Andrew Kim’s feast day was five days ago.  If I was really with it, I would have posted this  then! At that time I was referring to Liam as “JB” and Logan as “Kiwi”.



Should you ever find yourself stationed in South Korea (or here for any other reason), make sure to visit Mirinae Shrine. I’ve written about Mirinae before. Last Saturday we made a parish pilgrimage to my favorite place in Korea. This is the home of the tomb of St. Andrew Kim Dae-geon, the first Korean priest and a martyr. Although tucked into the hills, modern highways make this pilgrimage site easy to find. But during a time of Catholic persecution in Korea, this was a place of hiding and refuge.

{Up the stairs to Mass. Kiwi always finds friendly strangers to help him.}
The identity of refuge is seeped in the soil. You can feel peace and fortitude as soon as your feet touch the ground. Places hold memory and are, indeed, sacred. It is a place to soothe the soul, which is what I’ve been needing in these times of loneliness amidst the busy-ness. Attending Mass, said in Korean, helps remind me that even when we are in unfamiliar surroundings our Catholic faith is recognizable and universal. Winding up the between the hills, praying the Sorrowful Mysteries with my fellow parishioners, reminds me that sorrow leads to joy and that resurrection always follows crucifixion. Nestled in the comfort of hills and the arms of Mary, I remember that she is refuge of sinners, always ready to show us her son.

{JB, fascinated by colorful persimmons drying in front of the gift shop.}
A river runs through this place, life-giving, both practical and symbolic. Now there is a convent and a monastery, a retreat house and a parish, chapels, and trails that connect the dots between reliefs depicting the mysteries of the Rosary and the stations of the Cross. Pilgrims eat warm, delicious food at shared tables. Life here is ordinary, yet built on the extraordinary love that these saints had for God.
{Our three blue candles, lit in front of St. Andrew Kim Dae-geon’s tomb.}

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