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Thomas Bullaker, Venerable

Friar Minor and English martyr, b. at Chichester about the year 1604; d. at Tyburn, October 12, 1642

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Bullaker, THOMAS (or JOHN BAPTIST), VENERABLE, Friar Minor and English martyr, b. at Chichester about the year 1604; d. at Tyburn, October 12, 1642. He was the only son of a pious and well-to-do physician of Chichester. His parents were both fervent Catholics, and, following their example, Bullaker grew up in the ways of innocence and piety. At an early age he was sent to the English College at St-Omer, and from there he went to Valladolid in Spain to complete his studies. Convinced of his vocation to the Franciscan Order, after much anxious deliberation, he received the habit at Abrojo, and a few years later, in 1628, was ordained priest. Having left Spain to labor on the English mission, he landed at Plymouth, but was immediately seized and cast into prison. Liberated after two weeks from the loathsome dungeon where he had suffered the most untoward hardships, Bullaker, by order of Father Thomas of St. Francis, then Provincial in England, labored for nearly twelve years with much zeal and devotedness among the poor Catholics of London. On the 11th of September, 1642, Bullaker was seized while celebrating the Holy Sacrifice in the house of a pious benefactress. He has left a partial, but touching, account of his apprehension and trial. He was condemned to be drawn on a hurdle to Tyburn and there hanged, cut down alive, quartered and beheaded. It is related that as he was going out of prison he met Ven. Arthur Bell, a religious of his own order, who said to him: “Brother, I was professed before you. Why do you take precedence of me?” Bullaker answered: “It is the will of God. But you will follow me”. Bell remembered the prophetic words of the pious Bullaker when his own day of martyrdom was at hand. The cause of the beatification of Bullaker was introduced in Rome in 1900.

STEPHEN M. DONOVAN.


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