London: John Bradburne: anniversary Mass and talk

A Mass marking the 30th anniversary of the death of John Bradburne, will take place at Westminster Cathedral this afternoon.

The lay missionary and poet, was shot dead, almost certainly by guerrillas, while working at a leper colony in Zimbabwe in 1979.

Bradburne was born at Skirwith, in the Eden Valley, in 1921, the son of a Church of England vicar.

A charismatic figure, Bradburne once walked to Rome, lived for a year in the organ loft of a church and tried to live as a hermit on Dartmoor. He was also a lay member of the Order of St Francis and an accomplished poet.

John was received into the Catholic Church in 1947 and travelled to Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, as a missionary helper in the 1960s where he became warden of the Mutemwa leprosy settlement. Friends urged him to quit Zimbabwe as the war against white rule escalated in the late Seventies but he refused. His body was found by the roadside near Mutemwa. Up to 25,000 attend a service in his memory in Mutemwa each year.

The John Bradburne Memorial Society was founded in 1995 to support the work of the leper settlement. Celia Brigstocke, director of the Society, is also leading calls for John Bradburne's beatification. Since Bradburne's death there have been at least two miraculous cures linked to him. A woman in South Africa regained the use of her legs and a man in Scotland was cured of a brain tumour.

The Mass, at Westminster Cathedral, will be celebrated by Bishop George Stack on Saturday, 5 September at 2pm.

It will be followed by a talk in the Cathedral hall and the launch of a new book, John Bradburne on Love.

Tickets for the talk cost £7 and are available from the John Bradburne Memorial Society, PO Box 32, Leominster, Herefordshire HR6 0YB.

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Tags: John Bradburne

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