Saturday, November 21, 2009
Founding of a Mission Station
Looking over the Peace Weekly for the week of Nov. 8th I saw an article on two brothers who donated a million dollars to the Catholic University in Seoul. Reading the whole article I realized that the father of these two men was the founder of our mission station here in Gyodong back in 1951 to 1954. He was the first catechist and in his house we had the first Masses said by a priest from Seoul Fr. Youn. The article mentioned that the younger brother is now a priest in the States.
This was right after the Korean War started and the father and the family fled from Hwanghae Do, North Korea. He landed here in Gyodong and lived for a period of 3 years in which he took charge of the mission station. It was the oldest son who paid us a visit a few years ago and left a monetary gift.
The article mentioned the difficult life they had leaving North Korea, they were poor and not having enough to eat was a constant problem. This was the driving force of their concern for others.
One brother went to the States in 1966 and the other in 1979 and both are now presidents of their own companies. It has not always been easy for them but they remember their past and continue to be of help to those less fortunate. They feel this is the reason they have prospered in the States.
This mission station actually did very well in the beginning years but all the efforts were not successful. The intention of the early Maryknollers was to help the poor . They started a pig coop but in pig raising as with many other farm attempts not every thing goes well. The manager collected money from the members of the Coop to buy the pigs and feed but the problems that they had were too much for the coop; the raising of pigs was not succesful and the debt was too much. The manager threw in the towel and left for parts unknown. Many who lost money decided the Church was not to be trusted and many left. Over the years the memory of the pig coop has faded from the memory of many but we never had the numbers they had way back in the beginning. Possibly that was providential in that we had a purification of motives, unwanted but not all unfortunate.