Life Is A Blessing by Lejeune , Jerome

Life Is A Blessing by Lejeune , Jerome

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The father of modern genetics, Dr. Jérôme Lejeune discovered the extra chromosome 21 responsible for the condition known as Down syndrome, which he called trisomy 21. He received many international awards, including the Kennedy Foundation Award and the William Allan Memorial Award of the American Society of Human Genetics. Inspired by a deep belief that a cure for trisomy 21 would be found one day and that medicine has a duty to serve society’s weakest members, Lejeune dedicated his life to research and to caring for the intellectually disabled. The Jérôme Lejeune Foundation continues his work today by serving thousands of patients with trisomy 21 and other intellectual disabilities of genetic origin, through a triple objective—research for treatments, medical care, and advocacy.

“When Dr. Jérôme Lejeune, the most renowned geneticist in the world, took his stand for the unborn child, he became a pariah, shunned by his elite ‘friends,’ defamed in the press, and deprived of funding for his research. How did he persevere to earn John Paul II’s description of him as ‘a great Christian of the twentieth century’? This engaging book shows that Jérôme Lejeune, as husband and father, drew his strength from faith and family.”

Charles E. Rice, University of Notre Dame

“Jérôme Lejeune was one of the greatest Catholic men of the twentieth century. To Pope John Paul II he was a valued personal friend. To medical researchers (honest ones, at least), he was an esteemed colleague who should have won a Nobel Prize. But to his own children he remained first and foremost a loving and beloved father. Seeing him here in that role, we learn more about the great public man.”

Philip Lawler, Editor, Catholic World Report

“Dr. Lejeune was one of the most generous men I have known. He was especially generous here in America as he shared his countless scientific talents with us in defense of life. A number of years ago, he testified in a widely publicized ‘‘frozen embryo’’ case in Knoxville, Tennessee, and it was his testimony that led the trial court judge to base his decision on the fact that life begins at conception. Countless times Dr. Lejeune flew to the United States on short notice to testify in abortion-related court cases. It
was my privilege to be with him in an abortion-protest trial in Wichita, Kansas.

Dr. Lejeune was a strong and yet very gentle man. He was also known in America for his ability to recite poetry in English—a second language he picked up by reading a book! He was chosen by Pope John Paul II as the first president of the newly established Pontifical Academy for Life. Unfortunately, Dr. Lejeune’s death prevented him from serving the academy. He was an incredible role model to people like me, particularly in his ability to combine his Catholic faith with his outstanding abilities as a scientist.

In this charming story, Clara Lejeune recounts her personal discovery of her father as a wise and loving parent, a compassionate physician, and one of the world’s great scientists. Her sense of wonder throughout this awakening is paralleled by Dr. Lejeune’s own obvious humility. He was a man without guile. His fame existed solely for the sake of advancing the cause of serving others.”

Thomas Hilgers, MD, Director, Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction

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