The One Hundred and Five Martyrs of Tyburn – 12 October 1642

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Venerable Thomas (John Baptist) Bullaker, priest, O.F.M.

He was born at Chichester, in Sussex, in 1604. His life was given to God from the first. At the age of eighteen he obtained permission from his father to become a missionary priest. He is described as a tall, handsome youth, grave, modest and remarkably like the pictures of Our Lord.

After studying for a short time at a Jesuit College, at Valladolid, Bullaker became convinced that his vocation lay rather in the Order of Saint Francis. He was ordained in time as a Franciscan priest, and soon after he begged a secular dress and set off on foot to Bordeaux, landing in England without a penny. He laboured and endured many hardships on the mission for eleven years, and was finally seized, by the apostate Wadsworth, while saying Mass. His hostess and her little son were likewise taken by the pursuivants. At his trial, when he was called a traitor and seducer of the people, he said: “Now you give me occasion to rejoice, because you treat me with the same title as the Jews did my Saviour.”

Sentenced to be taken on a hurdle to Tyburn, there to be hanged, cut down and beheaded, Father Bullaker knelt and recited the Te Deum. To one who informed him in prison of the early date of his death, he said: “I thank you heartily, my friend, for this long desired and joyful news. Believe me, were it not for my great poverty, I would not send you away empty-handed.”

From the scaffold he preached with his dying lips of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

MLA Citation