She struggled against Parkinson’s disease for long years but she proved that the physical illness cannot be an obstacle to serving those in need, since she had committed her whole religious life to the sick and poor. As she knew the joy of labor, she worked very hard and faithfully with her trembling hands. We try to follow in her footsteps as we remember her.
She was born as the first of two sons and four daughters. As a member of the first class of the Korean Community, she entered on January 19, 1964, made her first vows in 1967 and professed her perpetual vows in 1973. She worked as a nurse for those with Hansen’s disease at the beginning of St. Lazarus Village. In spite of all kinds of difficulties she used all the gifts she had for them.
Then she worked at a parish in Baeknyong Island and at Gojan parish in the diocese of Incheon. She also worked for the patients with epilepsy syndrome throughout the country for six years. With the group called “Rose”, she traveled around the nation to give medication to patients with the syndrome. She could come back to the convent only once a week because of her work at that time. Whenever she came back, she looked quite exhausted but she used to put forth all her energy to get ready for another trip as she knew how important it was for the patients to take medication regularly.
She also served as a director of junior Sisters for 5 years. She was strict and stern with the junior Sisters in order to let them take firm roots as religious, so they respected her, realizing her love for them. Throughout her whole religious life, her priority was always on the poor. She began the ministry of “neighboring house of love” and took care of the sick and poor with clothes and food.
Since she moved into the motherhouse when it was hard for her to minister to the poor actively, she began to serve in the seminary kitchen of the Korean Missionary Society. The seminarians from that time are now working as missionary priests and pray for her. And then she started to distribute food for the poor near the motherhouse. As the work developed, the ministry became “Providence House of Sharing,” where two Sisters work for the migrant workers and multicultural families.
I believe she was very happy whenever she exalted God’s Providence through her work for the poor, even though we considered her work very hard.
With gratitude to our Provident God for allowing her all the graces and love, we will remember her with joy and prayer. And we believe that she is now in peace at heaven with the Lord
Sister Teresa Youngsook Joo
Provincial of St. Joseph Province
Feast Day: December 13