Korea: Living with illegal squatters

In 1975 a Jesuit known as Il Woo Jung (John Daly SJ) moved into an illegal squatter area of Seoul to be a neighbour to the squatters. His work was the initial inspiration for Jesuit commitment to the urban poor when the new Region of Korea was established in 1985. In 1991, when a community of insertion was officially established, he was its first superior. The community’s name Hanmon means “one body,” a slogan shouted by a local community leader who was later murdered while defending a neighbour against forced eviction. The Hanmon Community enables scholastics to work among the urban poor, providing a remedial education program for children of broken families, and working with abandoned elderly people and teen-age substances abusers. 

Now the Korean Region is setting up facilities for longer-term commitments. Hanmon has moved to a new and larger house with meeting-space and the “Han-Nuri Study Room” to help neighbourhood students.