Blessed Caius of Korea (1571-1624) is the 128th of the 205 martyrs of Japan that Pope Pius IX beatified in 1867, after he had canonized 26 martyrs of Japan in 1862. A 19th century French Catholic missionary, Charles Dallet, wrote of him: "His history proves, in a striking way, that God would rather make a miracle than to abandon an infidel who follows the lights of his conscience, and seeks the truth with an upright and docile heart."
- 1 His Life
- 2 References
- 3 Complete Text of the References
Caius was born in Korea and was given to a Buddhist monastery by his parents. He left the monastery because he could not find the peace that he wanted there. He went into a mountain to live as a hermit, and found a cave of a tiger, which he lived with. The tiger did not harm Caius, and later went away to find another dwelling. Caius exerted himself all kinds of mortification; he only ate what was necessary to preserve his life. One night, while in meditation, a man of majestic aspect appeared to him, and said to him:
"Take courage; within one year you will traverse the sea, and, after much work and fatigue, you will obtain the object of your desire."
The same year, in 1592, Japan invaded Korea, and Caius was made a prisoner. While going to Japan, they suffered a shipwreck at Tsushima island, and Caius escaped to the shore. Allured by the austere life of the Buddhist monks, he thought he found what he sought for many years, and withdrew himself in one of the most famous pagodas of Kyoto. It didn't take long until he felt that he could not find the peace that he wanted there. This caused him a so great sorrow that he became ill. During his illness, it seemed to him that he saw the pagoda all on fire, then a child of a charming beauty appeared to him and comforted him, saying,
"Fear no more, you are close to obtaining the happiness you desire."
He found himself cured of his illness after the dream and left the temple and went back to his master, who introduced him to a Christian, who in turn introduced him to the Jesuit priests. He was converted and received baptism immediately. While he was instructed, one of the Fathers showed him a tableau representing Our Lord, at which Caius exclaimed,
"Oh! Voila! Here is who appeared to me in my cave, and who foretold all that happened to me."
He served the sick, especially the leprous. In 1614, he went to the Philippines in order to work as a servant to the Dom Justo Takayama a samurai who had been exiled for his Catholic faith. After the death Justo, he went back to Japan, and began again his functions of catechist. He was a great help to the missionaries by preaching in his native language to the Koreans who were brought to Japan after the war. In November 15th, 1624, he was burned at the stake with James Coici, a Japanese Catholic.They were bound and only weakly by the left arm, to make it easier for them to get out of the fire as a sign of apostasy.
- List of Martyrs of Japan
- Dallet, Charles. Histoire de l'Église de Corée 1874. p. 6 "Son histoire prouve, d'une manière éclatante, que Dieu ferait un miracle plutôt que d'abandonner un infidèle qui suit les lumières de sa conscience, et cherche la vérité d'un cœur droit et docile."
- Dallet, Charles. Histoire de l'Église de Corée 1874. p. 6 "He withdrew into solitude to meditate with more ease on this happiness which he sought. He had as a dwelling only a cave, which he shared with a tiger, which occupied it before him. This wild animal respected its guest; it even yielded the cave to him some time after, and withdrew elsewhere."
- Dallet, Charles. Histoire de l'Église de Corée 1874. p. 6 "The young recluse in the single view of preserving his innocence, exerted all kinds of mortifications; he abstained from all that was not absolutely necessary to the life."
- Dallet, Charles. Histoire de l'Église de Corée 1874. p. 6 "Une nuit qu'il était en méditation, un homme d'aspect majestueux lui apparut, et lui dit : « Prends courage; dans un an tu passeras la mer, et, après bien des travaux et des fatigues, tu obtiendras l'objet de tes désirs. »"
- Dallet, Charles. Histoire de l'Église de Corée 1874. p. 6 "This same year, the Japanese entered Korea, and the young recluse was made a prisoner."
- Dallet, Charles. Histoire de l'Église de Corée 1874. p. 6 "Le vaisseau qui le transportait au Japon ayant fait naufrage près de l'île Tsoutsima..."
- Dallet, Charles. Histoire de l'Église de Corée 1874. p. 6
- St. Alphonsus Liguori, Victories of the Martyrs (1954) pg. 394-395 "One day during sleep it seemed to him that the house was on fire: a little while afterwards a young child of ravishing beauty appeared to him, and announced to him that he would soon meet what he desired; at the same time he felt himself quite well, though he had been sick. Desparing of seeing among the bonzes the light for which he was longing, he resolved to leave them."
- Dallet, Charles. Histoire de l'Église de Corée 1874. p. 6
- Dallet, Charles. Histoire de l'Église de Corée 1874. p. 6 "...was devoted to the care of the patients, especially the leprous ones."
- A letter from a missionary of Japan: "He preached not only to the Japanese, but also to the many Koreans--who are here by the war that ended three years ago--in his native language, which was a great blessing for us." "일본인 뿐 아니라 3년 전에 끝난 전쟁으로 많은 조선인이 있어 그들에게 자국말로 설교를 하여 우리들로써는 큰 행복이었다" http://www.catholictimes.org/news/news_view.cath?seq=27387
- St. Alphonsus Liguori, Victories of the Martyrs (1954) pg. 393-395 "I refrain from speaking of those martyrs whose combats resemble one another too much, so that the narrative may not become irksome to the reader. I cannot, however, pass over in silence those whose history contains certain particular circumstances. Such is the martyrdom of James Coici and of Caius, both having been burnt for the faith at Omura in 1625 [sic]."
- Dallet, Charles. Histoire de l'Église de Corée 1874. p. 6 "The September of 1624...The 5th of November of the same year, the young Korean Caius was burned at the stake...."
Complete Text of the References
A letter written by a missionary of Japan (translated from the Korean which was in turn translated from a European language) about Blessed Caius
"Caius the Korean could have stayed in Japan, but he volunteered to be banished with the feudal lord to work as his servant. Born in Korea at 1571, his adopted parents gave him to a temple. While living as a Buddhist monk and then a hermit in a cave, in 1592 he was made a captive and brought to Kyoto. His master was a compassionate person, allowing Caius enter a temple of Kyoto. But in here Caius could not find peace of soul and consequently fell into distress and became ill. Caius went back to his master, was introduced to a Christian and was baptized at the Church of Kyoto. Afterwards he worked as an exemplary novice brother at the Society of Jesus. He preached not only to the Japanese, but also to the many Koreans--who are here by the war that ended three years ago--in his native language, which was a great blessing for us." 이 조선인 가이오는 일본에 머물 수도 있었지만 스스로 자진하여 영주의 봉사자로 추방되는 길을 택하였다」. 이어 「가이오는 1571년에 조선에서 태어났는데 양친은 그를 사원에 바쳤다. 불승으로서, 은둔자로서 동굴생활을 하고 있던 중, 1592년 포로가 되어 교토에 끌려왔다. 그의 주인은 애정 깊은 사람이어서 교토의 어느 사원에 들어갈 수 있게 하였다. 그러나 그는 여기서도 결코 영혼의 안식을 얻을 수가 없어 고뇌에 빠져 병에 걸렸다. 가이오는 다시 전 주인을 찾아가 기리시탄을 소개받아 교토의 교회에서 세례를 받았다. 그 후 예비수사로 예수회 수도원에서 생활의 모범을 보였다. 일본인 뿐 아니라 3년 전에 끝난 전쟁으로 많은 조선인이 있어 그들에게 자국말로 설교를 하여 우리들로써는 큰 행복이었다」라고 말하고 있다. 가이오는 예수회의 전도사로서의 일을 오사카에서 시작하여 사카이와 가나자와에서 봉사하다가 추방의 무리에 합세하였다. 그 후 가이오는 다시 일본에 잠입하여 순교하게 된다. http://www.catholictimes.org/news/news_view.cath?seq=27387
I REFRAIN from speaking of those martyrs whose combats resemble one another too much, so that the narrative may not become irksome to the reader. I cannot, however, pass over in silence those whose history contains certain particular circumstances. Such is the martyrdom of James Coici and of Caius, both having been burnt for the faith at Omura in 1625 .
James was arrested for having lodged a missionary. Caius, on learning that James, his friend, was in prison, went thither to speak to him; and as the guards opposed his entrance, he opened a passage for himself by main force. In punishment for this insolence he was held a prisoner, and the lieutenant of the governor had him punished so severely that his face was black and blue. The lieutenant then told him that he could not save him from the chastisement that he merited unless he would promise to teach no more the Christian doctrine, as he had been in the habit of doing. Caius pleaded in excuse that he had consecrated his life to the instruction of his neighbor. The lieutenant nevertheless, as he took a liking to him, wished to set him at liberty; but Caius said to him while leaving the prison: " Do not think that I shall stop coming here; I will come to serve the prisoners, cost what it may." At these words the lieutenant changed his mind, and ordered him to be put in irons.
The governor having arrived at Omura from Nangasaki, ordered Caius to be brought before him; he promised that the past would be forgotten if he would bind himself no more to instruct the Christians. Caius again protested that it was a work of charity, which he could not give up. Thereupon the governor remanded him to prison, threatening that he would have him burnt alive. In fact, a short time afterwards he, with his friend James, was condemned to death by fire. They gayly walked to the place of execution, singing the litany of the saints. When they arrived, Caius broke away from the hands of his guards, and ran to embrace the stake that was destined for him; James in his turn did the same. They were then tied, and fire was set to the funeral pile, Caius knelt down in the middle of the flames, and while thanking God in a loud voice for having found him worthy to die as he had desired, he expired. James was also kneeling in the middle of the fire; when his cords had been consumed he arose as if he wished to speak to those present, but as his strength failed him he again knelt down, and died while invoking Jesus and Mary.
I must relate here the conversion of Caius. He was a native of Corea. Although brought up in paganism, he conceived so ardent a desire for the salvation of his soul that he retired into the woods so as better to think of the means to attain it.
Corea having fallen into the hands of the Japanese, our young solitary was made a slave and transported to Japan, where he begin to examine what sect of bonzes he should embrace. In the mean time he retired to their principal house at Meaco. One day during sleep it seemed to him that the house was on fire: a little while afterwards a young child of ravishing beauty appeared to him, and announced to him that he would soon meet what he desired; at the same time he felt himself quite well, though he had been sick. Desparing of seeing among the bonzes the light for which he was longing, he resolved to leave them. Scarcely had he left the house when he met a Christian, to whom he made known his mental troubles. The Christian having explained to him some truths of our faith, he was filled with admiration, and went to the house of the missionaries to become more thoroughly instructed. After receiving baptism Caius consecrated himself unreservedly to the service of GOD and to the instruction of the idolaters, and martyrdom put him in possession of the sovereign happiness which he was seeking."
"The young Korean Caius was burned at the stake at Nangasaki. His history proves, in a striking way, that God would rather make a miracle than to abandon an infidel who follows the lights of his conscience, and seeks the truth with an upright and docile heart. Born some time before the invasion of the Japanese, he as a youth had an extreme desire to arrive at the true happiness, i.e. with a happiness which did not have an end. He withdrew into solitude to meditate with more ease on this happiness which he sought. He had as a dwelling only a cave, which he shared with a tiger, which occupied it before him. This wild animal respected its guest; it even yielded the cave to him some time after, and withdrew elsewhere.
The young recluse in the single view of preserving his innocence, exerted all kinds of mortifications; he abstained from all that was not absolutely necessary to life. One night in which he was in meditation, a man of majestic aspect appeared to him, and said to him:
"Take courage; within one year you will pass the sea, and, after many work and fatigues, you will obtain the object of your desire."
This same year, the Japanese entered Korea, and the young recluse was made a prisoner. The vessel which transported him to Japan having been shipwrecked close to the Tsushima island, Caius escaped to the shore; those who led the vessel probably perished in the floods. At all events, he recovered his freedom. Allured by the austere life of the bonzes, he believed to have found what he sought since so many years, and withdrew himself in one of the most famous pagodas of Kyoto.
But it didn't take a long time for him to realize his error; these idolatrous monks were certainly something less than perfect men. This mistake caused him a so great sorrow that he fell sick from there. During his illness, it seemed to him to see the pagoda all on fire, then a child of a charming beauty appeared to him and comforted him:
"Fear no more", he told him, "you are close to obtaining the happiness you desire."
He was not yet cured when he abandoned the Buddhist monastery. The very same day, he met a Christian with whom he told his sorrows and his adventures; this one brought him at once to the college of Jesuits, where one informed him of the mysteries of the religion. As his heart was already prepared to receive the divine inspiration, he believed without hesitating, tasted without sorrow holy morality of the Gospel, and asked for baptism immediately. They did not think it fit to subject him to a longer test, and the grace of the sacrament produced in a soul laid out so well of the admirable effects. While he was instructed, one of the Fathers showed him a tableau representing Our Lord:
"Oh! here, he exclaimed, here is who appeared to me in my cave, and who predicted all that happened to me"
He was put to the missionaries and was devoted to the care of the patients, especially the leprous ones. There is no virtue in which this predestined soul has not set an example: mortifications almost excessive, charity for the unhappy ones, eager care for the missionaries, whose works and dangers he shared, zeal for the salvation of souls, etc... Nothing was above his powers when needed to testify for the recognition of a God who had conferred on him so many graces, even before he could know and appreciate His gifts. In 1614, he followed to the Philippines, Ukandono, a general of the armies of Japan, who was exiled for the faith. After the death of this great man, he went back to Japan, and took again his functions of catechist.
Persecution taking everyday a more alarming character, he believed himself obligated to redouble his fervor; he multiplied his austerities and his prayers. God rewarded him so much for his virtues by a glorious martyrdom. The neophyte having gone one day, according to his habit, to visit the confessors of the faith, declared himself Christian and catechist; he was stopped at once and led in the prisons of Nangasaki, where he had to suffer much. He submitted with admirable constancy."
"...le jeune Coréen Caïo fut brûlé vif à Nangasaki. Son histoire prouve, d'une manière éclatante, que Dieu ferait un miracle plutôt que d'abandonner un infidèle qui suit les lumières de sa conscience, et cherche la vérité d'un cœur droit et docile. Né quelque temps avant l'invasion japonaise, il éprouva dès son jeune âge un désir extrême de parvenir au vrai bonheur, c'est-à-dire à un bonheur qui n'eût point de fin. Il se retira dans une solitude pour méditer plus à son aise sur cette félicité qu'il cherchait. Il n'avait pour habitation qu'une caverne, qu'il partageait avec un tigre qui l'occupait avant lui. Ce féroce animal respecta son hôte ; il lui céda même la caverne quelque temps après, et se retira ailleurs. Le jeune solitaire dans l'unique vue de conserver son innocence, s'exerçait à toutes sortes de mortifications ; il s'abstenait de tout ce qui n'était pas absolument nécessaire à la vie.
Une nuit qu'il était en méditation, un homme d'aspect majestueux lui apparut, et lui dit :
« Prends courage; dans un an tu passeras la mer, et, après bien des travaux et des fatigues, tu obtiendras l'objet de tes désirs. »
Cette même année, les Japonais entrèrent en Corée, et le jeune solitaire fut fait prisonnier. Le vaisseau qui le transportait au Japon ayant fait naufrage près de l'île Tsoutsima, Caïo se sauva à la côte ; ceux qui le conduisaient périrent probablement dans les flots. Quoi qu'il en soit, il recouvra sa liberté.
Séduit par la vie austère des bonzes, il crut avoir trouvé ce qu'il cherchait depuis tant d'années, et se retira dans une des plus célèbres pagodes de Méaco. Mais il ne fut pas longtemps san s'apercevoir de son erreur ; ces religieux idolâtres n'étaient rien moins que des hommes parfaits. Cette méprise lui causa un si grand chagrin qu'il en tomba malade. Pendant sa maladie, il lui sembla voir la pagode tout en feu, puis un enfant d'une beauté ravissante lui apparut et le
« Ne crains pas, lui dit-il, tu es à la veille d'obtenir ce bonheur tant désiré. »
Il n'était pas encore guéri, qu'il abandonna la bonzerie. Le jour même, il rencontra un chrétien à qui il raconta ses peines et ses aventures; celui-ci l'amena sur-le-champ au collége des Jésuites, où on l'instruisit des mystères de la relion. Comme son cœur était déjà préparé à recevoir la divine menée, il crut sans hésiter, goûta sans peine la sainte morale l'Évangile, et demanda aussitôt le baptême. On ne pensa pas levoir le soumettre à une plus longue épreuve, et la grâce du sacrement produisit dans une âme si bien disposée des effets admirables.
Pendant qu'on l'instruisait, un des Pères lui montra
un tableau représentant Nôtre-Seigneur:
« Oh ! voilà, s'écria-t-il, voilà celui qui m'a apparu dans ma caverne, et qui m'a prédit tout ce qui m'est arrivé. »
Il se mit à la suite des missionnaires el se consacra au soin des malades, surtout des lépreux. Il n'est point de vertu dont cette âme prédestinée n'ait donné l'exemple : mortifications presque excessives, charité pour les malheureux, soins empressés pour les missionnaires, dont il partageait les travaux etles dangers, zèle pour le salut des âmes, etc... Rien n'était au-dessus de ses forces, lorsqu'il fallait témoigner de la reconnaissance pour un Dieu qui l'avait prévenu de tant de grâces, avant même qu'il pût connaître et apprécier ses dons. En 1614, il suivit aux Philippines, Ukandono, général des armées du Japon, qui était exilé pour la foi. Après la mort de ce grand homme, il retourna au Japon, et reprit ses fonctions de catéchiste. La persécution prenant tous les jours un caractère plus effrayant, il se crut obligé de redoubler de ferveur; il multiplia ses austérités et ses oraisons. Dieu récompensa tant de vertus par un glorieux martyre. Le néophyte étant allé un jour, selon sa coutume, visiter les confesseurs de la foi, se déclara lui-même chrétien et catéchiste ; il fut arrêté sur-le-champ et conduit dans les prisons de Nangasaki, où il eut beaucoup à souffrir. On le condamna à être brûlé à petit feu, supplice horrible, qu'il subit avec une constance admirable."
B. CAÏO, Korean and Catechist of the Fathers Society of Jesus, foreign by birth as a Korean, in the evangelical light which stood up then on the Japanese empire, he once experienced at the age of twelve this passion for the truth, this love of eternal salvation and this all holy faith, which were crowned in the Patriarch Abraham by privileged benedictions.
The desire of this adolescent was the salvation his soul. He went, from his youth, seek this salvation in solitude, and lived several years in a cave of a mountain, leading a life of ascetic, and granting to his body what is absolutely necessary. After seven years of fervent aspirations, he was sanctified, if you can say, by his austerities. When Caïo was twenty years old, he had a vision of a man venerable: he predicts that next year he would pass the sea, and after endless tests, he would find his desires.
The young solitary did not stop on this appearance, but in the same year, it began to be fulfilled. The young man, becomes prisoner by the Japanese and brought into their country, was wrecked on Tsushima island, led dying to Méaco. A good Christian, named Caïo Foyn, parent of his mistress, brought back his health. Later, the Korean decided to join the monks, thinking to find its salvation. He had chosen one of the main monasteries of Méaco, and there was much estimation by monks and the gentiles, but his spirit still agitated, and sought a higher truth. A newcomer led him into the church of Jesuits, and made him hear the catechism. Caïo recognized the true path of his soul: he had nothing more to be desired. Became a Christian, he asked to enter as a servant in the house Fathers, and was recognized as such around the year 1600. He was first used as a catechist for Koreans and Japanese, and the seconda P. Pierre Moréjon to Ozacca (Osaka), Sacaï (Sakai) and Foccocou (Hokoku). He worked with lepers with predilection.
In 1614, during the persecution, he went into exile in the Philippines, in the company of the famous general Oucondono (Takayama Ukon); he returned after two years, and exercised for seven to eight years his former ministry, going to all holy works and care of his own sanctification; he was called the small Apostle. He gave hospitality in his home to the Fathers of the Society of Jesus. He was taken by the persecutors, where he would visit the prisoners. The judges, who was touched, wanted to pardon him, if he consented not to explain the Christian books and do no more catechizing. Caius said he will persist to do so until death.
When P. Pierre Vasquez, Dominican, was led to Omoura, Caius was put in its place in Prison Nangasaki and shared the room with the venerable Jacques Coïtchi. The lives of these two prisoners was a sign of austerity. Jacques fasted for three continuous months, and about Caius, the deprivation reduced at the end. Shortly after that Father Vasquez and his companions were sentenced to death and Jacques Caïo and were condemned to be burned alive. When the day came when they were to be conducted, instead of agony, they are ordered remain silent during the road and not to take their most beautiful clothes, because the governor Nangasaki wanted to ensure that their Walking would have the appearance of a triumph. They were bound and only weakly by the left arm. The wood was removed, so the ordeal was of longer duration. They died with courage invincible. It was the 5 November 1624, Caius had fifty-three years.
B. CAÏO, Coréen et Catéchiste des Pères de la Compagnie de Jésus, étranger, par sa naissance coréenne, à la lumière évangélique qui se levait alors sur l'empire japonais, il éprouva dès l'âge de douze ans cette passion de la vérité, cet amour du salut éternel et cette foi toute sainte, qui furent couronnés dans le patriarche Abraham par des bénédictions privilégiées. Le désir unique de cet adolescent fut le salut de son âme. Il alla, dès sa jeunesse, chercher ce salut dans la solitude, et vécut plusieurs années dans le creux d'une montagne, menant une vie d'ascète, et n'accordant à son corps que l'absolu nécessaire. Après sept années d'aspirations ferventes, et s'étant sanctifié, si on peut le dire, par ses austérités, Caïo, âgé de vingt ans, eut une vision d'un homme vénérable : celui-ci lui prédit que l'année suivante il passerait la mer, et qu'après d'infinies épreuves, il verrait e terme de ses désirs.
Le jeune solitaire ne s'arrêta pas sur cette apparition ; toutefois, dans la même année, elle commençait à s'accomplir. Le jeune homme, fait prisonnier par les Japonais et conduit dans leur pays, fit naufrage sur l'ile Tsousima, etfut amené mourant à Méaco. Un bon chrétien, nommé Caïo Foyn, parent de sa maîtresse, lui rendit la santé. Plus tard, le Coréen obtint d'entrer chez les bonzes, pensant y trouver son salut. Il avait choisi l'un des principaux monastères de Méaco, et s'y était fait grandement estimer par les bonzes et par les gentils; mais son esprit, toujours agité, recherchait une vérité plus haute. Un néophyte le conduisit dans l'église des Jésuites, et lui fit entendre le catéchisme. Caïo reconnut la véritable voie de son âme : il n'avait plus rien à désirer. Devenu chrétien, il demanda à entrer comme serviteur dans la maison des Pères, et y fut admis en cette qualité vers l'an 1600. Il fut d'abord employé comme catéchiste pour les Coréens et les Japonais, et seconda le P. Pierre Moréjon à Ozacca, à Sacaï et au Foccocou. Il s'occupait des lépreux avec prédilection.
En 1614, lors de la persécution, il alla en exil aux hilippines, en la compagnie du célèbre général Oucondono; il revint au bout de deux ans, et exerça pendant sept à huit ans son ancien ministère, vaquant à toutes les œuvres saintes et au soin de sa propre sanctification ; on l'appelait le petit Apôtre. Il donnait L'hospitalité dans sa maison aux Pères de la Compagnie de Jésus. Il fut pris par les persécuteurs, lorsqu'il allait visiter les prisonniers. Les juges, qui l'estimaient, voulaient lui faire grâce, s'il consentait à ne plus expliquer les livres chrétiens et à ne plus catéchiser. Caïo répondit qu'il persisterait à le faire jusqu'à la mort.
Quand le P. Pierre Vasquez, Dominicain, fut conduit à Omoura, Caïo fut mis à sa place dans la prison de Nangasaki et y partagea le cachot du vénérable Jacques Coïtchi. La vie de ces deux prisonniers était un prodige d'austérité. Jacques jeûna trois mois continus, et quant à Caïo, ses privations le réduisirent à l'extrémité. Peu de temps après que le Père Vasquez et ses compagnons eurent été condamnés à mort, Jacques et Caïo furent condamnés à être brûlés vifs. Quand vint le jour, où ils devaient être conduits au lieu du supplice, on leur ordonna de garder le silence pendant la route et de ne point revêtir leurs plus beaux habits, car le gouverneur de Nangasaki voulait éviter que leur marche eût l'apparence d'un triomphe. Ils furent liés faiblement et seulement par le bras gauche. Le bois se trouvait éloigné, pour que le supplice fût de plus longue .durée. Ils moururent avec un courage invincible. C'était le 5 novembre 1624, Caïo avait alors cinquante-trois ans.