It was a Monday after Holy Week when a friend took the boys and I to a very solemn place in the middle of the busy streets of Metropolitan Seoul. Our destination: The Danggogae Catholic Martyr’s Shrine. It is a mere walking distance from the Yongsan Electronics Market.
The Shrine is a small property in the middle of apartment complexes. If you live in any of these apartments, this Shrine is one of the perks for your serenity. It is a lovely, quiet place where you can meditate and pray the whole day and have your personal relationship with God strengthened through silence.
Where the Shrine stands right now used to be a grim location for the martyrdom of 10 Korean Catholics. It was called the Gihae Persecution in 1839. Their martyrdom made 9 of them saints. Why one wasn’t declared a saint was a story of a mother’s sacrifice. She had to temporarily put aside her faith to raise her children. But she still died a martyr for her faith.
Perhaps, the best part of the whole Shrine for me is this prayer room. While there is a central area where mass is celebrated, this prayer room is where you can silently talk directly to God. This is where you whisper your most innermost pains and desires.
Inside the prayer room, you may light up a candle provided on one side for 1,000-won. That day, candle designs were that of flowers and boats. Of course, you would know what my boys chose.
These were the lighted candles while the boys prayed. Of what their prayers were for, I didn’t intrude.
After praying and checking (more on just looking since we cannot read Hangeul) on the profiles of the 10 martyrs, we went up to the top of the Shrine. Though it was already after the Holy Week, my friend has her Stations of the Cross booklet in her bag. It was a perfect time to introduce the Stations of the Cross to my sons after DeFourth asked about the images on each station. From up here, you can see the apartments and buildings around. I just love it that you can have a quite refuge in the middle of this city jungle.
It was a good day. It was bright and cool and relaxing. Our stomachs were grumbling for food after we’re done but the boys just got to have a little bit of fun first.
The I-park Mall was just a few minutes bus ride away so for anyone who wants to have silence and peaceful meditation, this is one place you could turn to for solace.
Directions (source: Visit Korea)
Yongsan Station (Gyeongbu Line & Seoul Subway Line 1 & Jungang Line), Exit 3.
Take the footbridge connecting Exit 3 to the Terminal Electronics Market.
Exit through the front of the Terminal Electronics Market and walk toward the parking lot across the street from the building..
Walk along the right side of this parking lot until you reach Yongsan Jeonjasangga Sageori (four-way intersection).
Turn right and walk for about 300m.
Turn left just before the elevated road (overpass).
Walk straight ahead until the end of this street to arrive at the site.