Norfolk schoolboy became a martyr in Zimbabwe
John Bradburne, the Norfolk schoolboy who became a Franciscan missionary and martyr, is having his centenary marked this year with 100 days of poetry readings.
John was born in 1921, the son of Thomas Bradburne, who became vicar of Cawston in Norfolk. He himself went to school at Gresham’s, near Holt. He later became a lay Franciscan and was killed in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1979 for refusing to abandon the leprosy patients he had looked after for many years.
He dedicated his life to looking after the poorest, most needy leprosy patients and society’s outcasts, providing ten years of selfless physical and spiritual care until he was murdered.
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.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Charles Moore, former editor of the Daily Telegraph, are among well-known figures who are taking part in the readings. They join a local reader, Anthony Purvis from Walsingham.
You can watch the readings on Youtube here.
The John Bradburne Memorial Society is seeking to help those at Mutemwa Leprosy Care Centre this Easter by fundraising to buy chickens to be able to sustain the community with eggs, food and the ability to generate an income from selling produce.
You can contribute to the appeal here.
Pictured above is John Bradburne