History

Bringing healthcare to the developing world since 1874.

The founder of the Leprosy Mission, Wellesley Bailey, was born in Abbeylieux, Ireland in 1846. Upon traveling to India as a young man, Wellesley joined the American Presbyterian Mission and worked as a teacher.

“I almost shuddered… yet at the same time [I was] fascinated, and I felt, if ever there was a Christ–like work in the world it was to go amongst these poor sufferers and bring them the consolation, the hope of the gospel”.
But his path changed dramatically when he was introduced to a small leprosy colony and the people who lived a hopeless existence in the quiet shadows of rural India. He remembers: “I almost shuddered… yet at the same time [I was] fascinated, and I felt, if ever there was a Christ–like work in the world it was to go amongst these poor sufferers and bring them the consolation, the hope of the gospel”.

Wellesley lived among that village and cared for those with leprosy. He visited them regularly, helping with food and shelter and sharing the Gospel: “soon I discovered that I had there, at my door, a splendid sphere of work for the Master”.

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Wellesley spoke with such passion about leprosy affected people to his friends Isabellea, Charlotte and Jane Pim, that a public meeting was arranged.
In 1874, the first support group of the Leprosy Mission was formed. They pledged to raise £30 a year. In their first year they raised £600!

When Wellesley retired from TLM, at age 71, there remained a dynamic Christian mission: “born and cradled in prayer has been the foundation of its success.” It is a Mission that is still working today to bring about a world without leprosy.

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