This new foundation in Korea arose in response to the concern to strengthen our presence in Asia, where we were already in the Philippines, and at the same time to get closer to China, the country where our Sisters developed their mission for 20 years (1929 – 1949).
Sr. Mª Elena Echavarren Sorbet, Superior General at that time, was the promoter of the foundation in Korea. On her first trip to Seoul, Sr. Mª Elena, helped and advised by other religious congregations, was able to learn something about this country and the demands of a missionary presence and meeting also Bishop William McNaughton, an American Maryknoll Missionary, who made himself available to welcome the Sisters in his Diocese, the Diocese of Incheon.
Towards the middle of March 1996, the four sisters designated for the foundation in Korean lands traveled to Seoul, each of them coming from another mission “ad gentes”: Martha Patricia Ramírez Vergara, Colombian, missionary in Benin, Ángela María Martínez Sierra, Colombian, missionary in the Philippines, Carmen Margarita Avendaño Cubillos, Colombian, missionary in Tanzania, and Cecilia Pasquini, Italian, missionary in Tanzania. And on March 25, with a simple and intimate Eucharist, the community began its journey in this land of the Far East, rich in cultural and religious traditions where, however, Christians and even more Catholics are a significant minority.
During the first six months of their stay in Korea, in order to receive Korean classes at a university in Seoul, the sisters stayed in different religious communities in this city: Srs. Martha Patricia and Ángela María with the Conceptionist Missionary Sisters while Srs. Carmen Margarita and Cecilia with the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesians). Later they were able to go to live together in a small house that the Sisters of the Korean Martyrs made freely available to them until June 1998, when they moved to Bucheón, in the Diocese of Incheon, where they began their mission.
The first years were characterized by the strong demand for the study of the language and the process of integration into a totally new social and cultural reality, but the missionary spirit of each one and openness to the grace of God made everything possible and allowed them to carry on with enthusiasm and even humor.
Twenty-five years have passed and the presence of the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters in Korea has grown and today they provide their service of evangelization and attention to the demands of the place in a Daycare Center in Bucheon and a Protection Home for girls in Jeonju. The life testimony of the sisters has attracted some young Korean women to our Congregation, currently having a Korean sister in perpetual vows and others in the process of formation.
We thank God for our journey in this Korean land and we invoke His blessing so that we continue to make present the charism of our Capuchin Tertiary life with enthusiasm and fidelity.