Lucia Park, the youngest in a family of four boys and three girls, grew up near Seoul in South Korea. She joined the Columban Sisters in 1987 and spent some years as a missionary in Chile. She is now back in her native country directing the Vocation Promotion Programme for the Columban Sisters in Korea.
In a country where Buddhism is the principal religion the Park family have been Catholics for four generations. Lucia’s father, after years of captivity following the Korean War, became the parish catechist and assistant to the local priest, Columban Father Philip Crosbie. Both of their lives are immortalized in the book, Swords and Ploughshares, 50 years of Columban Mission in Korea.
Lucia attended secondary school in Seoul, the capital of Korea, and took a job as a secretary and book-keeper for a business group. But while she answered the phone, typed letters and added figures, something else was stirring within her. She eventually recognized that inner feeling as a nudge from God to consider becoming a sister. Given her family’s close connection with the Columbans, it was probably natural that she would, at least, consider joining the Columban Sisters.
In 1987, Lucia began her religious training as a missionary sister and later did further professional study. When asked about her call to religious life, Lucia says that even now, more than 15 years after joining the Columban Sisters, her missionary religious vocation is still a mystery to her.
Lucia’s first mission assignment was to Chile. After spending time in the United States to become more proficient in English, she headed south. First, there was language school and yet another language, this time Spanish. Then she was ready to move into one of the small communities of Columban Sisters on the edge of the city of Santiago. There she found herself immersed in the daily life of the Chilean people and came to understand better the new culture and way of life she was now embracing.
During her years in Chile, Lucia worked in a in a large parish of 120,000 people where she was part of a parish team approach to ministry, participating in Basic Christian Community groups and organizing programmes to prepare children and their parents for the reception of the Sacraments. She was particularly concerned for young people who had become alienated because of drug abuse or family problems.
Then last year, Lucia’s life took a new direction when she was asked to direct the vocation promotion programme of the Columban Sisters in Korea. It meant setting out again on another missionary journey, this time back to her own people in the hope of deepening the missionary vocation of all whom she will meet along the way.
The words you hear may be Korean or Spanish or English – but the message will be the same: “Go out into the whole world and proclaim the Good News!”
Lucia was involved in the Columban Formation miinistry in Korea for years and now is preparing for her mission assignment to Pakistan.