A piece of sunshine

Pauline Hyehwa Namu

"Hoehwa namu" is a species of tree in the subfamily of the pea family Fabaceae, growing into a lofty tree up to 10-25 meters tall, with an equal spread. It produces a fine, brown timber whose outside layers are light brown while the inside is grey-brown. The flowers and leaves are used for teas. The flowers are good for arteriosclerosis and hypertension, and the bark, fruits, and branches are good for hemorrhoids.


As big as a zelkova, it becomes the arbor tree even living a thousand more years. The tree becomes very hard and strong after dying; so, it is good for making durable and long-lasting products that are good for making pagodas. It is also used for wood carvings.


Our new apostolate center called "Pauline Hyehwa Namu" was opened on Oct.18, 2020. The terms "Hyehwa Namu" is a pun of "hoehwa namu", the so-called Chinese scholar tree or Japanese pagoda tree, symbolically meaning reverberation, resonance, or nostalgia.


Used in landscaping, memorials or to line streets, the Hoehwa Namu is believed to be able to defeat demons. If it is planted in a house, a great person or a scholar is supposed to originate from that house. The tree is also resilient against pollution. "Namu" (meaning "tree" in Korean) also signifies the name of "Alberione" (meaning "tree" in Italian) our founder.


Since December 15, 1971, the "Pauline Books and Media Center", run by the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Paul, was located in Chungmuro in the midst of Myeongdong's most hectic shopping area.


But the streets in Myeongdong have since been developed. Every day, the streets are so crowded with people, both locals and tourists, and the value of the area is very high now.


After 47 years of service, our Myeongdong center closed on Dec. 15, 2018, and finally, by the providence of God, we could find another more suitable place.


The whole building was recently restructured for several months, and this new venue had the benediction ceremony led by the Cardinal Andrea Soo-Jung Yeom of the archdiocese of Seoul on Oct. 17 and was opened with the exhibition of the biblical illustrations painted by Sr. Pacis Hyang-Sook Park on Oct. 19, 2020, in Daehakro.


This venue is more cultural and artistic with the presence of various indie theaters, restaurants, cafes, universities, mahogany bricks, agora park called "marronnier", as well as Seoul Catholic University, Dongsung High School, and Hyehwa Catholic Church.


This new center, called "Hyehwa Namu", will provide people with a newly designed bookshop and cafeteria on the first floor; several workshop rooms that can be used for one-day classes and the exhibition of various holy articles as well as some hideouts for oneself only in the second place; the "Ladice" small theater that can have various programs and performances at the basement level.


Thanks to this new place, we can deepen spirituality, prayer, consolation, communion, and communication with others in fraternal solidarity with the post-COVID-19 era. Blessed are those who come to take a rest under the shade of this newly born "Hyehwa Namu"!


"There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven: a time for giving birth, a time for dying; a time for planting, a time for uprooting what has been planted… a time for knocking down, a time for building…"(Qohelet 3:1-8).

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