John Bradburne: Celebrating the life of an extraordinary man

By Anyway Yotamu
MUTOKO – September 5th every year the Catholic family celebrate in honour of the life and work for John Bradburne born in Skirwith, Cumbria, in 1921. A third-order Franciscan, he was killed in Rhodesia in 1979 for refusing to abandon the leprosy patients he had looked after for many years.
Speaking during the 42 anniversary celebrations, Mutemwa Leprosy Care Center Admistrator about 100 miles from Zimbabwe’s capital city Harare, Father Linous Mukumbuzi said, ” his anniversary offers an important opportunity to reflect on a genuinely extraordinary man, who lived a truly remarkable life”
“As we celebrate John Bradburne’s life of sacrifice, let us reflect and pray for his journey to Saint wood”, said Father Mukumbuzi.
Bradburne dedicated his life to look after the poorest, most needy leprosy patients and society’s outcasts, providing 10 years of selfless physical and spiritual care until he was murdered in 1979.
Since his death, Mutemwa, the leprosy settlement where he worked, has become a major pilgrimage centre. Each year, on the anniversary of his death, September 5, thousands gather to hear Mass and process up the mountain where he walked and prayed.
The John Bradburne Memorial Society was established in 1995 by Celia Brigstocke, John’s niece, to do two things: to continue his legacy by providing perpetual financial support for the Mutemwa Leprosy Care Centre, desperately in need of help, and to promote his cause for beatification, given the widespread belief in his sanctity expressed by all who met him.
Mutemwa Leprosy Care Center is home to 36 patients.

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