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Zimbabwe: Bishops approve Bradburne Canonisation Cause

Today, 1 May, the whole episcopal conference of Zimbabwe unanimously gave its placet for the beginning of the Cause of Canonisation of John Bradburne. The Cause will be launched on 5th September 2019 at Mutemwa, Zimbabwe.

A lay missionary and poet, John Bradburne 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, he 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 by his niece, Celia Brigstocke, to support the leper settlement. Celia also led calls for his beatification. Sadly she died in August 2018, but her eldest daughter Kate Macpherson, is continuing the work.

Since Bradburne's death there have been claims of 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.

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