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Sainthood Cause of John Bradburne given green light

John Bradburne

The English Franciscan missionary was killed while caring for lepers in Africa

The Cause for the canonisation of Franciscan missionary John Bradburne has been approved by the Vatican and will launch officially in September.

The John Bradburne Memorial Society said that the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome issued a formal nihil obstat on July 1, allowing the Cause to begin.

Bradburne, who was born in Skirwith, Cumbria in 1921, was killed in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1979 for refusing to abandon the lepers he had looked after many years. Mutemwa, the leprosy centre where he worked, his since become a major pilgrimage site.

The Cause will be officially launched at Mutemwa on September 5 this year, the fortieth anniversary of his murder. There will also be a Mass at Westminster Cathedral in London two weeks later, where his relics, including his Franciscan habit, will be on display.

Bradburne was the son of an Anglican cleric and served with the Gurkhas in Malaya during the Second World War. During the war, he underwent a religious conversion and was eventually received into the Church while staying at Buckfast Abbey in 1947.

He became a Franciscan tertiary and travelled to Rhodesia two years before the Bush War broke out. When the war started, he refused to flee and became warden of Mutemwa. He was eventually abducted and killed just three months before the conflict ended.