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Rome Reports

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Pope recognizes the heroic virtues of French scientist Jérôme Lejeune


Pope Francis has officially declared that the man who discovered Down’s Syndrome, Jérôme Lejeune, lived the Christian virtues to a heroic extent.

In addition to being a brilliant professional, he combined his work with his family life. He was married to Birthe Bringstead and had five children. Jérôme died in 1994 and Birthe in 2020.

BIRTHE LEJEUNE
Jérôme Lejeune's Wife
“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.”

Jérôme Lejeune had to watch with great pain as his life’s discovery was used to provoke abortions.

ELENA POSTIGO
Jérôme Lejeune Foundation
“This probably strengthened his fight for these people’s defense: that his discovery was used for the exact opposite purpose that he had intended”

His advocacy for the lives of babies with Down syndrome may have cost him a great deal professionally. Some even say he lost the Nobel Prize for Medicine.

BIRTHE LEJEUNE
Jérôme Lejeune's Wife
“Who knows. A lot of people think that’s what happened. It’s impossible to know who exactly 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.”

Birthe Lejeune recalled that having denounced abortion closed many doors to her husband, although it seems to have opened others: those of Heaven. To be beatified, the promoters of his cause must now present proof of a miracle performed through the intercession of Jérôme Lejeune.

Javier Romero

Translation: Christian Campos