Bailey was born in 1846 in Ireland. He became a Christian shortly before he sailed to Australia 'to make his fortune'.
When he returned to Ireland, having failed in his ambition, he looked for something to do and travelled to India. He stayed at the home of a missionary and he became aware of the poverty and the needs of the people around him.
He was deeply affected by what he saw and started working with missions in the country.
Then Bailey visited a leper asylum.
Leprosy is a dangerous disease that strikes at the body and the place of a person in society.
Although leprosy is fairly easily treated these days, at the time there was no treatment for this contagious disease and the person was immediately and permanently isolated from family, friends and society.
Bailey saw the needs of these rejected and isolated people. He started spending a lot of time amongst lepers. He shared the gospel with them and he took care of their physical needs as well.
He supplied shelters, food, clothing and medical care and he saw people being transformed and baptized.
Bailey went back to Ireland in 1873 because his wife Alice was unwell.
There he shared his experiences with others and collected money to continue his work amongst the lepers. In 1875 he returned to India and set up a leprosy asylum at Chamba. Bailey campaigned effectively to care for leprosy sufferers. The work expanded rapidly and in 1889 Bailey set up a leprosy home in Burma.
Others followed in China and by 1908 there were additional homes in Japan, South Africa, South America, Sumatra and Korea. Bailey retired from the work in 1917 having successfully set up a global organization to care for leprosy sufferers worldwide.
There are still many leprosy sufferers in the world, mainly amongst poor societies.
Although treatments are available and effective, many of the sufferers do not receive treatment! The Leprosy Mission is still engaged in the battle to eradicate this evil disease.