Church leaders in Zimbabwe discuss beatification cause of lay missionary

Catholic News Agency | 9/6/2019 | Staff
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Harare, Zimbabwe, Sep 6, 2019 / 05:01 pm (CNA).- On Thursday the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe began a three-day meeting to consider the cause of canonization of John Bradburne, a lay missionary to the area in the 1970s, who could become the country's first canonized saint.

At the Sept. 5-7 meeting, Catholic leaders will hear arguments in favor of and against the sainthood cause of Bradburne, who was killed during the Rhodesian Bush War in 1979.

Meeting - Anniversary - Bradburne - Death - Cause

The meeting began on the 40th anniversary of Bradburne’s death and will determine whether his cause for official sainthood can proceed.

Bradburne was born in 1921 in England, the son of an Anglican clergyman. He served in the British army in World War II, and he converted to Catholicism in 1947 after staying with the Benedictines of Buckfast Abbey.

Monk - Buckfast - Catholic - Church - Wanderer

Although he wanted to become a monk at Buckfast, he had not been in the Catholic Church long enough, and so he became a wanderer throughout Europe and the Middle East, living out of one bag. He also became a prolific poet.

During his wanderings, he stayed at other Benedictine abbeys, with Carthusians, the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, and even tried living as a hermit on Dartmoor in England. Bradburne became a Third Order Franciscan in 1956.

John - Bradburne - Memorial - Society - Website

According to the John Bradburne Memorial Society’s website, after 16 years of wandering, Bradburne wrote to his friend Father John Dove and asked: “Is there a cave in Africa where I can pray?”

He arrived in the British colony of Southern Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe) in 1962, and shortly thereafter he told a Franciscan priest that he had three wishes: to serve leprosy patients, to die a martyr, and to be buried in the habit of St Francis.

Jesuit - Friend - Southern - Rhodesia - Bradburne

Through a Jesuit friend in Southern Rhodesia, Bradburne came to serve at the Mutemwa Leper Settlement in...
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