The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea 39, 40
Saint Simon Marie Antoine Just Ranfer De Bretenières, Priest (1838-1866)
Father De Bretenières was born in Châlonsur-Saone, France on February 28, 1838, the son of Judge De Bretenières (Baron) and his wife Anne who were not only good Catholics but also did many charitable works. They were interested in giving religious education and discipline to their children. Consequently, young De Bretenières had an ardent desire to become a foreign missionary in China from the time he was three years old. He also expressed the desire to his brother and to his parish priest that he wanted to become a martyr.
In 1859 De Bretenières entered St. Sulpice Seminary in Paris. He was loved and admired by everyone around him. In September of 1861 he moved to the seminary of the Paris Foreign Missions Society. One of his friends admired him so much that he said De Bretenières would become a saint even without martyrdom. In May of 1864 he was ordained a priest.
Father De Bretenières wanted to go to Korea very much. Three other young priests were assigned to Korea with him. They were reportedly very happy to be able to go with Father De Bretenières.
When they reached Hong Kong, their assignments were officially announced. They were supposed to go to Manchuria to wait for a chance to enter Korea. On October 28, 1864 they arrived at a seaport in Manchuria and waited for six months for a Korean boat to take them to Korea. While they were waiting there, they studied the Chinese language.
In May of 1865, Chinese sailors took the missionaries to Baengnyeong-do on the west coast of Korea, where they stayed for 20 days. Since the boats Bishop Berneux sent for the missionaries did not reach the island, they moved with all their luggage to a tiny Korean sailboat. After much suffering from storms on an open deck, they arrived at Naepo in Chungcheong-do on May 27, 1865.
It was hard for them to contact Bishop Berneux in Seoul. However, Bishop Daveluy, who had hidden himself in Naepo after his house was burnt down, helped the new missionaries to find their way. Father De Bretenières met Bishop Berneux in Seoul, and later settled down at the home of catechist Cheong Ui-bae to study the Korean language until the end of February of 1866. Soon Father De Bretenières started his ministry. He heard about 80 confessions and baptized more than 40 adults. He also administered Confirmation and the Sacrament of the Sick.
On February 23, 1866 Father De Bretenières heard that Bishop Berneux had been arrested. The next day Father De Bretenières baptized 27 adults, and then he himself was arrested. Since he heard that Bishop Berneux had a chasuble on when he was captured, he wanted to be arrested with his chasuble on.
He was put in the same prison with Bishop Berneux. Both of them were sentenced to death on March 6, 1866. The following day they were taken to Saenamteo by the Han River, and there they were beheaded. Just before Father De Bretenières was killed, he asked for water to quench his thirst, but his last wish was refused. He was 28 years old.
Saint Bernard Louis Beaulieu, Priest (1840-1866)
Bernard Louis Beaulieu was born on October 8, 1840 in Langon, France, the son of a 19-year old mother. His father had died five months after the marriage. His mother was a very devout woman and dedicated her son to the Blessed Mother. She later married Mr. M. Dufour, a widower and the father of a daughter, for the purpose of giving an education to her son.
Young Louis started to serve as an altar boy at the age of seven. His teacher recommended him for the minor seminary in Bordeaux in October of 1849. He met a missionary who had worked in Sutchen, China for a long time, and began to dream of becoming a missionary in a foreign land.
In 1857, Beaulieu entered the major seminary in Bordeaux. While he was studying there, he lost one of his best friends, Amélien Virac, and also his mother on November 7, 1858. These tragedies helped Beaulieu to make up his mind to become a missionary.
Beaulieu had to wait for four more years before he became a missionary. His spiritual director and the archbishop of Bordeaux did not easily grant him permission. At that time Beaulieu had not reached the canonical age for ordination. While he was waiting to be ordained, he taught in a local minor seminary. In March of 1863, he was very sick with pneumonia and his desire to become a missionary seemed to vanish. But after his archbishop gave him permission to become a missionary, Beaulieu recovered from the illness.
Despite the opposition of his uncle, who was like his own father, Beaulieu entered the seminary of the Paris Foreign Missions Society on August 27, 1863, and finally was ordained a priest on May 21, 1864. He was assigned to Korea on June 15, 1864.
He left France on July 15, 1864, and arrived in Korea on May 27, 1865. He was welcomed by Bishop Berneux. The bishop sent all young missionaries to mountain villages in order to avoid danger. Father Beaulieu was sent to a village near Father Dorie. They met each other frequently for confessions. When they traveled, they went at night in the Korean mourning costumes which covered their whole bodies and faces. They also encouraged each other to be faithful to the Lord in their ministry.
Father Beaulieu could speak Korean well, so Bishop Berneux decided to send him to Kwangju, southeast of Seoul. But Father Beaulieu was arrested on February 27, 1866, before he could leave for his destination. After severe tortures and sufferings he and the other missionaries were beheaded at Saenamteo on March 7, 1866. Father Beaulieu was 26 years old when he was martyred.