The John Bradburne Memorial Society (JBMS) has launched a 100-day poetry project in honour of the life and work of this most notable member of the clergy in what is his Centenary Year.
For 100 days, leading up to John’s 100th birthday on 14th June 2021, prominent figures and supporters including Cardinal Nichols, Charles Moore and Giles Brandreth will read one of John’s poems on the society’s YouTube Channel.
You can also visit the JBMS poetry website where Professor David
Crystal has compiled all of John Bradburne’s poetry to an online database.
John Bradburne was born in Skirwith, Cumbria, in 1921. A third-order Franciscan, he was murdered in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1979 for refusing to abandon the leprosy patients he had looked after for many years.
John dedicated his life to caring for the poorest and the most needy. Leprosy sufferers were society’s outcasts, and he provided them with 10 years of selfless physical and spiritual care until his death in 1979.
Since his death Mutemwa, the leprosy settlement where he worked, has become a major pilgrimage centre. Each year, on 5th September, the anniversary of his death, 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 continue his legacy by providing perpetual financial support for the Mutemwa Leprosy Care Centre, which is 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.
On 1st July 2019, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome issued a formal nihil obstat for the cause of beatification of Franciscan missionary John Bradburne to proceed. On 5th September 2019, the 40th anniversary of John’s assassination, there was a special ceremony at Mutemwa, where the cause for his beatification was officially launched.
Picture: Fr John with two leprosy patients he cared for.