Dispatches from Central Africa

The John Bradburne Memorial Door

Panels 01 - 04

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Panel 01

Portrait of John as an officer in the British Army in India during the World War

 

I love this age in which I am on earth
So blest be God who gives to no man
Choice concerning when and where he'll
Come to birth

 

1941

John spends his leave in the Himalaya

 

I heard a sound of singing, saw a sole
Sadhu at praise

John, the son of an Anglican clergyman, is received into the Church at Buckfast Abbey

 

Our Lady and the Church are as a bridge
By which our Saviour shares our pilgrimage

 

Feast of Christ the King, 1947

John makes a pilgrimage to Lourdes

 

It is not possible to think of God
Without the Virgin Mary being there
Deep in the well whence springs
          the thought since trod:
On earth that Prince of Peace
          who breathed our air
There goes He ever, flows
          through time and space
Incarnate, with Maria Queen of Grace

 

1949

Panel 02

John makes a pilgrimage to Jerusalem

 

I steered towards a wedding
With fairest of all nurses: she's of Zion

 

October, 1950

John makes a pilgrimage to Rome

 

September, 1950

 

The carvers have never seen architecture in stone. Their attempt to understand the Dome of the Rock and St. Peter's is derived from Fr. Boucher's explanation and from photographs.

John prays at the Wailing Wall

 

I know the Wailing Wall as none has known
That odd Westend of God since it was raised

 

October, 1950

John makes a pilgrimage to the Sea of Tiberias

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Panel 03

John tries his vocation as a Father of Sion in the novitiate at Louvain

 

I'll never be a scholar, Lord,
So slow am I to learn.
Yet, by Thy grace, dear Lord, to me
Death's naught but end of term

 

December, 1950

John returns to England

 

Rarely not have readers seen
Rural England rolling green
Undulating over land
More divine through human hand

 

1953

John tries his vocation as a Benedictine at Prinknash Abbey

 

Advent, 1955

John departs from Prinknash Abbey and makes his living as a street musician, or as he calls himself, the Piper

 

I have no money
But I love God
In Him I rejoice

Mari handina
Mwari ndinoda
Naye ndinofara

 

Good Friday, 1956

Panel 04

John arrives in Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe), having asked his friend, Fr. John Dove S.J. to find a cave in Africa where he might pray

 

The dust of this Mashonaland
Could make me sing on everything I've ever scanned

 

7th August, 1962

John arrives at Silveira House, Chishawasha

John undertakes varied work for the Mission, with greater or less success, in the course of which he visits local schools…

… but he arrives, finally, at Mutemwa Leprosy Settlement, near Mutoko, north-east of Salisbury, which is to be his home for the next ten years

 

March, 1969

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