Wellesley Bailey, a young Irish man, set sail for India in 1869 hoping to find a career here. While training to be a teacher, he saw for the first time the devastating effects of leprosy. Till then, he had only heard about leprosy and ‘lepers’ from Bible stories. He was disturbed by the appalling living conditions and the social isolation of people with leprosy.
Describing his heart’s desire, he writes, “if there was ever a Christ-like work in the world, it was to go amongst these poor sufferers and bring them the consolation of the gospel.”
During his time, there was no known cure for leprosy. So, along with his wife Alice, he returned to Ireland to raise awareness by talking about those affected by leprosy who lived in extreme poverty and rejected by the society in India.
Wellesley Bailey ministry in India
As people began to extend their support through prayers and financial help, they started ‘The Mission to Lepers’ (now called the Leprosy Mission) in 1874 to help leprosy sufferers in India. By the late 1870s, the mission supported 100 people who suffered from leprosy. He also visited other leprosy projects run by other missionaries and helped them in administration and finance.
Soon, letters arrived from other countries seeking his help, and hence he extended his ministry to countries like China, New Zealand, and Australia. Wellesley’s compassion gave birth to an organization that now serves to bring healing, inclusion, and dignity to the leprosy-affected around the world. He toured many countries raising awareness among the Christians and missionaries about the needful ministry among the lepers.
Being a prayerful person himself, he believed that his Mission was nourished on prayer and that prayers were at the bottom of its success. Wellesley who considered, caring for lepers as his life’s ambition is rightly remembered as the ‘Father of lepers.’ Wellesley Bailey
Beloved, are you able to show God’s love to the outcasts in your society?Take away from the article
“ Lord, strengthen me to serve the outcasts and the neglected of this society. Amen! ”Word of Prayer