The Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosay of Namyang

The statue of our lady of namyang


Father Francesco Xavier Sang Gak Lee.
Ordained in 1986.

In 1987, Fr. Lee survives a harrowing accident when he dives into swirling rapids to save a parish member. He later hears that his mother prayed the Rosary the whole day on the day of the accident after three appearances by the Holy Mother in her dream who said to her: "I must take one of your children." Upon hearing this, Fr. Lee is convinced that his survival is a gift of mercy made possible by the Holy Mother's intercession. Then and there, he solemnly promises that he will devote his life to doing something wonderful for the Holy Mother although he is unclear what it would be. Assigned in 1989 to the Namyang Parish, that includes the martyrs' site, he takes this as a confirming call for his devotion to the Holy Mother and dedicates himself to the development of the site as Rosary Hill. He requests that the late Bishop Namsoo Angelo Kim declare Namyang Korea's first Catholic holy site dedicated to Mary. Fr. Lee has been the caretaker of the Namyang Holy Site since then and spends his days in spreading devotion to the Holy Mother through the "24-Hour Rosary Chain Movement"

The Rosary Plaza

The outline of the "5 Joyful Mysteries" in a section named "The Ground of the Rosary" that uncannily resembles the famous icon of Vladimir's "The Holy Mother of Mercy" is the starting point of the "20-Decade Rosary Road" completed in 2003 that actually began in 1984 and went through expansion in

image31991,1993, and 1997. The construction of the Road and groundwork surrounding it were done without a master plan, improvising piece by piece as the acquisition of land took place.
The main reason for my inability to have a master plan was the difficulty in acquiring land, which forced me to resort to piece-by-piece expansions.

At the time, Namyang as a holy site was virtually unknown and funds were hard to come by. With but few supporters, I had to rely on the Rosary beads in hand begging for help.

As I began developing Namyang into a Holy Site, an idea came to me when I was praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament, saying, "Jesus, I want to work for the Holy Mother. How can I accomplish this?"

"It is impossible by myself, but it will be possible if I pray the Rosary for help from the Holy Mother." This is when the idea of a "Prayer Marathon, "the 24-hour Rosary Prayer Movement," came to me. For 20 minutes, a volunteer would pray for Peace on the Peninsula," "Reconciliation of the Korean people," &"Penance of the Sinners," "the Namyang Holy Site," and "Rosary for those who pray the Rosary"as their 5 main objects of prayer. Different volunteers would take turns keeping the prayers day after day. Thus, prayers were offered continually for the Shrine of Our Lady of Rosary Hill and peace as our devotion to Mary and as our daily movement for the prayer members.

The Pilgrims Praying the Rosary

Many believers donated their meager money to purchase a rose or two to place at the Holy Mother's feet, as they participated in the chain prayer movement.

But I was convinced that prayer was more important than money.

imageI beseeched that those who could not support us with money pray for the Holy Site project whenever they heard the word "Namyang" on TV or billboards, thinking about the Holy Mother and reciting "Hail, Mary," to be maintained to this day along with the 24-hour chain prayer for peace.

It was by no means an overnight wonder that built Rosary Hill but those believers who adore the Holy Mother, pooling their small individual devotions together in a slow, daily progression.

The groundwork and Rosary Road were accomplished little by little as enough funds were collected for purchasing another piece of land, in three separate installments.

The last obstacle turned out to be something other than money: It was the refusal of the landowner who would not sell the land even as we offered enough money.
There was a grave where the Rosary Road was to be built.


Without removing the grave to flatten the ground, the Rosary Road would be too steep for the pilgrims. I tried to buy the land several times but the owner refused to sell the plot where his father was buried. The owner told us that he planned to take his father's remains to Gaesong, North Korea, his father's hometown, when the two Koreas were finally unified. We had to wait for Korea's unification to buy the land!

We had to build the Rosary Road around the grave site which could not be moved. The fourth and fifth Joyful Mysteries had to be built on steep ground, and, while we were at it, the grave had to be concealed with trees around it so that it would not be conspicuously out of place.

But this very immovable object is what resembles Mary's face and the head of Jesus in the Icon!

If we could have removed the grave the site's Rosary Road would not have taken on the appearance of Vladimir's icon.

Is this the Providence of the Lord?

imageIn fact, I resented the stubborn owner of the grave while the reluctant construction was underway. But, as events unfolded, it was all the Lord's plan and grace. Man's plans and the Lord's must be quite different. We give thanks to the Lord whose wisdom made the Rosary Road at Namyang resemble the merciful Holy Mother's icon.

The making of the Holy Site was a difficult process and often I wondered if it was possible at all. But every difficulty was met with the power of the Rosary, which testifies that "To witness Rosary Hill is to witness the power of the Rosary and the astonishing grace of prayer." It must be the Holy Mother's providence that we had to go through all the trials and obstacles, large and small, while building the Holy Site.

It may be safely said that Mary imprinted her merciful intentions on the Rosary Road at Namyang, by making it clear that she would always be with those who pray the Rosary at the Holy Site.

In particular, the appearance of Vladimir's Icon of Our Lady of Mercy is an event of great significance that she willed for us.

The beautiful and graceful Holy Mother at Rosary Hill is the very embodiment of the Merciful Mother, whose garment is held by the Infant Jesus in the statue at the site and in the loving and deeply intimate relationship between Mother and Son.

Many believers testify that they feel inwardly warm and peaceful, as if they are in the bosom of their mothers, when they come to Rosary Hill and pray the Rosary and recite "Hail Mary, full of grace." This surely reflects the desire of Mary who wishes to get closer to those who pray in her name as she resides at Namyang Rosary Hill.

vladimir's holy mother of mercy icon(center) ald the aerial view of rosaryhill

Somewhere along the way, I realized that I needed to strengthen my devotion to Joseph. I became convinced that St. Joseph, the faithful spouse of Mary and good father to the infant Jesus, must have rendered his considerable help when we secured and completed the holy site. Upon this realization, from the beginning of our groundwork, we established the St. Joseph Shrine at the holy site to help with our prayer, and the location of St Joseph Shrine turned out to be, more than as a mere coincidence, exactly the middle of Mary's bosom in the picture!

the aerial view of rosary hill