What do Ireland's St Gobnait and England's John Bradburne have in common?

They were both friends of bees. When John Bradburne lived in a cave in Africa, it was surrounded by bees that gave him privacy and protected him from unwanted guests.Appearances of bees are associated with the intercession of John Bradburne, and may indicate that prayers have been answered. When I read this first, I thought it a bit far-fetched. True - roses are associated with praying to the Little Flower – but bees have a malevolent reputation. Since then, I’ve been proved wrong. The numerous and unusual ‘bee experiences’ that I have had when a prayer has been answered through the intercession of John Bradburne have a key place in my memory. 

Approaching two years ago, I was invited to interview a lady for an Irish newspaper. The lady had distinguished herself by going to the to Our Lady of Good Counsel novena for fifty years in a row, without fail. She had even attended the novena when she was pregnant with Siamese twins, which had caused her much distress. The year that I interviewed her, she was praying especially that the local Cork University would stop experimenting on the stem cells of embryos. She had strong words to say on the subject, including calling the deliberate destruction of an embryo ‘barbaric’. I was concerned that the newspaper might think her views too pro-life to print. I prayed to John Bradburne on the way back from interviewing her. ‘She has spoken the truth’, I said to John Bradburne, ‘and I pray that the newspaper will not edit out the pro-life aspect.’ The minute that I started a Rosary with the intention of invoking John Bradburne’s aid, something yellow collided with the top of my shoe. I looked down, and saw a very large queen bee. The bee was dead, but her yellow stripes looked radiant. The next day, a child that I was teaching randomly put a toy bee into my hands.  It took longer than I anticipated, but the article, complete with the lady’s pro-life view that those who tampered with the human embryos were ‘killers’ got published – in full! 

PS - Ireland's St Gobnait is the patron saint of bee-keepers.


  1. Bees having a bad reputation? You need to read more monastic writers! And the Exultet!


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