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Vatican considers the canonization of Jérôme Lejeune, the Dr. of 'modern genetics'

2014-03-20

The gene that causes Down Syndrome and other physical disorders, was discovered by Dr. Jérôme Lejeune. The French doctor definitely left his mark in the medical field and in his personal life. He married Birthe Bringstead in 1942 and the couple had five children. With his canonization process open, the city of Rome is welcoming a unique exhibit on his life and legacy.  

BIRTHE LEJEUNE
Wife of Jérôme Lejeune 
"My husband was a devout Catholic, but he was discrete. He didn't show off or boast about it, so he would pray in private, not in the public sphere.” 

Despite his medical discoveries, Lejeune never won the Nobel prize. He was pro-life and some in the field didn't like this. His wife says, she doesn't have any proof, but she does remember many doors being closed when he spoke out against abortion. 

BIRTHE LEJEUNE
Wife of Jérôme Lejeune 
"Who knows. A lot of people think that's what happened. It's impossible to know exactly who will receive a Nobel prize, but some say that more than likely his stance on abortion, didn't sit too well with the selection committee in Sweden.” 

Jérôme Lejeune had very good relationship with John Paul II. They even knew each other before he was elected. They even had lunch together on May 13th, 1981, just hours before John Paul II's assassination attempt. 

He also collaborated with the Holy See, becoming the first president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. He died in Paris in 1994, at the age of 68. 


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