ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - A biography in Korean of the Servant of God Barthelemy Bruguière

Saturday, 27 January 2024 evangelization   beatification  

Seoul (Agenzia Fides) - The biography of the "servant of God" Barthelemy Bruguière, published in France in 1938, is being translated into Korean for the benefit of the entire Catholic community, which shares the deep experience of faith of the bishop, for whom the Holy See granted the "nihil obstat" for beatification in 2023. The work on Barthelemy Bruguiere (1792-1835), member of the Society for Foreign Missions of Paris (MEP) and first Vicar Apostolic of Korea, promoted and edited by the Martyrs' Commission of the Archdiocese of Seoul, covers and describes the birth, studies, missionary activity and the life of Bishop Bruguiere, the first bishop of the Diocese of Joseon. The volume, which is expected to be completed and presented in the second half of 2024, complements the first two texts about Bruguiere: "The Letters of Bishop Bruguiere" and "The Travels of Bishop Bruguiere", which were already published in Korea in 2007. The biography was written by Father Abbot J. Camille Brudoncle of the diocese of Carcassonne, France, where Bruguière comes from. The original title is "Monseigneur Barthelemy Bruguière, du diocèse de Carcassonne des Missions Etrangeres de Paris (1792-1835)". The translation of the biography is being done in collaboration with the Catholic University of Paris. Father Won Jong-hyeon, vice president of the Commission for Martyrs, said: "There is a lack of material to remember and reflect on the spiritual experience of Bruguière. We hope that the publication of the translation will be of help to many".
The Commission will also hold a competition on the figure of Bishop Bruguière, with the aim of writing an essay based on and inspired by his meditations to shed light on his life as a Pastor and his pioneering role in the mission in Joseon. The aim is to help South Korean Catholics draw inspiration from the French missionary bishop. This was reiterated by Bishop Job Koo Yo-bi during the symposium entitled "The life of Bishop Bruguière and the context of the mission in Korea", held in Seoul on December 7.
Missionary Bruguière (MEP) was the first Vicar Apostolic of Korea and the first Coadjutor Bishop of Siam (Thailand). Born in Raissac-d'Aude (France), Bruguière was ordained a priest in 1815 after studying at the seminary in Carcassonne and taught in the seminary for a decade.
Because he wanted to become a missionary, he joined the Society for Foreign Missions of Paris (MEP) and eventually went to Vietnam. After leaving Paris in 1825, Bruguière reached Jakarta, also known as Batavia, in 1826 and later traveled to Bangkok, where he carried out extensive missionary work among the people. On September 9, 1831, Pope Gregory XVI created the Apostolic Vicariate of Korea and appointed Bruguière as the first Vicar Apostolic. On September 12, 1832, Bruguière set sail from Singapore to China together with Joseph Wang, a seminary student from Penang. Bruguière left Shanxi on September 22, 1834, reached the Great Wall of China on October 7, and arrived in Xiwanzi on October 8.
He spent about three years in China preparing for his entry into Korea. On October 7, 1835, Bruguière, Wang, and fellow MEP missionary Pierre-Philibert Maubant began their journey to Korea. Within two weeks Bruguière fell ill and died in China and was buried there. His remains were later moved and buried in a cemetery in Seoul in 1931. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 27/1/2024)