Edward C. Bradley, physician and priest

The Rev. Edward C. Bradley, 82, a Philadelphia physician who became a Jesuit priest when he was 50, died of kidney failure Wednesday, June 8, at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

His life changed when he took leave from the faculty of the School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

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Edward C. Bradley

Mary Tilghman, a spokeswoman for the Jesuit province that covers Philadelphia, wrote in an e-mail that the change began "when Dr. Bradley learned of a Jesuit priest in Vietnam in dire need of medical supplies and assistance."

He took equipment to two Vietnamese villages and "opened clinics there, focusing on tuberculosis and polio cases.

"He appealed to President Richard Nixon for supplies. Nixon responded with supplies and personnel to inoculate some 8,000 villagers, virtually eradicating [polio] in these areas."

In 1974, he resigned as associate professor of medicine at USC and entered the Jesuit novitiate at Wernersville, Berks County. In June 1979, the month before his 51st birthday, he was ordained as a Jesuit priest.

Born in Philadelphia, he graduated from St. Joseph's Preparatory School, earned a bachelor's degree at what is now St. Joseph's University in 1951, and graduated from what is now the Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in 1955.

After interning at Lankenau Hospital, he attended the Naval School of Aviation Medicine in Pensacola, Fla., and became a flight surgeon.

Tilghman said he completed a fellowship at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

After completing a fellowship in cardiovascular research at USC, he joined the medical faculty there in 1964, interrupting his classroom work for his clinic work in Vietnam.

While studying at the Jesuit seminary in Berks County, in 1975 he joined the faculty at Jefferson Medical College.

In 1977, he transferred his studies for a master of divinity to the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif., while continuing his medical practice at what is now St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco.

After being ordained in 1979, Father Bradley was a parish priest for a year at Old St. Joseph's Church in Society Hill.

In 1981, he opened a medical practice for the poor in North Philadelphia and rejoined the medical faculty at Jefferson, where he was a clinical associate professor of medicine until he retired in 2007.

From 1987 to 2010, Father Bradley was also counselor to faculty, students, and workers at Thomas Jefferson University.

Tilghman said that the Jefferson Medical College Class of 1991 presented his portrait to the university and that the medical alumni of St. Joseph's University gave him the Clarence E. Shaffrey Award in 1999.

In 2008, the St. Joseph's medical alumni established an award in his honor.

He is survived by cousins.

A viewing was set from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at St. John Bosco Roman Catholic Church, 235 E. County Line Rd., Hatboro. A 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. viewing was set there before a 10:30 a.m. Funeral Mass, with burial in the Jesuit cemetery in Wernersville.


Contact staff writer Walter F. Naedele at 215-854-5607 or wnaedele@phillynews.com.