Catholics and villagers in Mutoko have intensified efforts to lobby the Vatican to accord sainthood to the late British born John Bradburne in honour of his works in taking care of lepers and destitutes in Mutoko.
BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
Bradburne is the man behind Mutemwa Leprosy Centre in Mutoko which is currently home to 37 inmates most of them, post-leper patients.
In an interview recently, Father Alfred Tigere, who is in charge of the centre said the beatification process has begun with Catholics currently mobilising £20 000 for the process.
“For one to become a saint, there is the beatification process first.
At this stage we take the whole issue to Rome where the leadership will deliberate about it.
This process takes time and requires a lot of money.
So far we need to raise £20 000,” Tigere said.
The money is used for research into his life.
“The good thing is that we have since secured a postulator from Italy.
He met Bradburne’s family in England.
Here in Zimbabwe, Archbishop Robert Christopher Ndlovu is the petitioner since this is happening in his diocese.
He gave the nod for the process to continue.
So, September next year is the official opening of Bradburne’s story before the announcement of the beatification dates.”
The beatification process will be held at Mutemwa in Mutoko.
Bradburne died on September 5, 1979 at the age of 58 at Mudzonga, along Harare-Nyamapanda Highway after he was allegedly shot and killed by liberation war fighters.
He was buried in a Franciscan habit, according to his wishes, at Chishawasha Mission Cemetery.
He is well remembered as a prayer warrior who, according to Tigere, would climb the Mutemwa mountain three times a day to pray.
Bradburne’s death was mired in such controversy and it is said during his funeral, drops of blood leaked from his coffin which vanished when it was opened.
A shrine in his honour has been preserved over the years and part of it is his famous tin house and two other huts, which he used as his dwellings.
Today, Catholics visit the area for prayers as it is believed to be holy.
Bradburne will be the first saint from Zimbabwe if accorded such honour.