There is no greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for his friends.”Jn 15:13
After a very risky foreign underground Church mission, I had a chance to have a layover at Seoul, Korea before returning to my community in Texas. The Lord provided for me the time to go to the adoration chapel of Myongdong Cathedral where there are relics of Korean Martyrs. As I prayed there, I felt so overwhelmed by love. Moreover, I realized that the martyrs have loved the Lord and us so much that they were willing to give their lives so that we may have faith. And these words of our Lord rang in my heart. “There is no greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
Let me tell you a little about how St. Andrew loved with his life. In this year, we celebrate the 200th birthday of St. Andrew Kim. He was born on August 21, 1821, into a family of faith-filled Catholics. His grandfather and his great uncle had already passed away giving witness to the faith when he was born. He grew up with parents who passed on the faith and love. Later, both of his parents would die for the faith as well.
Andrew Kim went to China for training in the seminary when he was 15. After ordination at the age of 23, with great difficulty, he found a way to re-enter Korea. His ship almost sank on the way there! When he finally arrived, he got busy forming young seminarians, ministering the sacraments, and drawing a map of Korea. In his ministry, he realized that we needed more missionaries, and he tried to seek entry for them; in this process, he was arrested, tortured, and martyred for the faith.
My inner question was why St. Andrew Kim and his family did not choose the easy way? Why was Andrew willing to suffer many hardships and ultimately give his life? I felt that I received the answer at that adoration chapel before the relics of the saints. He loved greatly. He knew that there is a God, who loved us greatly even unto death. In addition, the love of God and the hope of spending eternal life with Him was of greater value. To bear witness to God’s love and to work for the salvation of souls was of greater value than that of the passing world.
I had to ask myself, how do I make choices? Based on passing things of the world and comfort? Or, do I make choices on heavenly values? Am I willing to undergo discomfort and suffering for a little time if my choices lead me to Heaven? Am I willing to stand for the truth for the sake of my brothers and sisters? I believe that St. Andrew taught me a beautiful lesson. I pray that I will make choices that will lead me to live the words of Jesus, “There is no greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
Born in Seoul, Korea, Sister Juana Teresa grew in her Catholic faith by the help and encouragement of her mother and grandmother who were newly introduced to the faith. As new born babies in Christ they are filled with great zeal and love for God. Even as a little child she knew that God had a unique and special plan for her life. Her becoming a Sister was a response of love.
Sr. Juana Teresa was baptized as Helen Chung. Helen was ten when the family left Korea for Paraguay. In this beautiful tropical country in South America, Helen learned to speak Spanish and received her first communion.
Once again the family immigrated; this time to live closer to relatives in Canada. She finished her last two years of high school at a Catholic school in Toronto, Canada where she received the sacrament of Confirmation. She had a deep and personal encounter with God through the baptism in the Holy Spirit. She desired to respond to God for His great love and in prayer and discernment she realized that she was called to be a religious Sister.
In 1991 Helen attended The Niagara Falls Charismatic conference where Mother John Marie was speaking. When Helen met with Mother John Marie, the Lord whispered gently to Helen, “ in this community, I will teach you how to love.”
In October of 1992, she joined the Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ and received the name Sr. Juana Teresa when she entered the novitiate in June of 1993. She made her first profession on Oct 23rd 1995 and perpetual profession of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in October 2000. Sr. Juana Teresa says that the Lord called her to learn to love and she is still learning each day by following in the footsteps of Jesus.
Sr. Juana Teresa thanks to the prayers and love of her family. Matthew Chung (father), Theresa (mother), Joseph (brother), And grandmother Johanna who just turned 97-yrs-old this year. They live in Toronto, Canada.
Sr. Juana Teresa also thanks to each one of her Sisters for their amazing witness to love and faith. And for their tender and faithful friendship and prayers.