23 June

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Visiting Seoul in the Rain

For the past several days, a steady rain has replaced the sun and heat that are more typical of the beginning of summer here in Korea. When we woke up this morning we were all hoping very hard that the rain had finally stopped-a “selfish” concern because we were looking forward to a visit to the city in the afternoon.

Instead, morning dawned and the skies were still weeping… . Luckily, the rain poses no impediment to the “mini-meetings” scheduled for these days, so the Superior General and Bursar General met with the circumscription superiors and bursars, while the rest of us made the most of this small “gap” in our work program-a welcome break after days of intense activity.

As the hours passed, the rain not only didn’t stop-it came down even harder. But the sisters of the community supplied us with umbrellas and suitable foot-gear so in the early afternoon we set out for downtown Seoul in a big tour bus with a placard reading “FSP” displayed in the window.

Our first stop was the National Palace Museum of Korea, which houses a wide variety of artifacts from the Joseon Dynasty-a very important cultural period in Korean history. Afterward, the tour bus took us to the Myeong-dong Cathedral, which is built on the site where the first Korean Christians gathered to deepen their faith and share it with others. Our visit to the crypt of the Cathedral was very moving because the relics of many Korean martyrs are preserved there as a perennial reminder that this young Local Church was fecundated by their blood.

Leaving the Cathedral, we went by foot to the heart of the city-a very busy business district jam-packed with people, including many teenagers and tourists. One of our stops was at our book center, which is located in the midst of world-renowned stores, small local shops, movie theaters, technology companies and sites of historical interest.

Returning home, we found a typical Korean supper waiting for us-a welcome conclusion to our beautiful though very wet excursion.