Geoff Bird, a former journalist who worked on newspapers in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Britain, recently reminisced on one of our posts about the heroic work of Franciscan missionary John Bradburne:
As a journalist with the then Rhodesia Herald I and a photographer met John Bradburne at Mutemwa and wrote a story about him. The year must have been between 1969 and 1971. To my great regret I never kept a copy of the story or photographs.
He was living in a little hut within the leper colony and I never forget he had a pump organ which he played for us, which seemed so incongruous at the time. He was so proud of his leper colony friends and took great delight in showing us around the neat compound and introducing us by name to the patients.
I never forget each hut had a neat garden, including vegetables. At the time, I marveled at Bradburne’s obvious love for his patients. And my abiding memory of Bradburne was this huge aura of peace and serenity which surrounded him like a cocoon. If only I had known then I was in the presence of a saint!