Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Wednesday 02 December |
Saint of the Day: St. Bibiana
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Down syndrome could get a patron saint

Jerome Lejeune

Fondation Jérôme Lejeune | CC BY-SA 3.0

Philip Kosloski - published on 01/22/20

Jerome Lejeune, who discovered trisomy 21, is on the path to canonization.

For many centuries people with Down syndrome were misunderstood. Some even thought it was a disease caused by syphilis in the mother from prostitution. However, that all changed when Jerome Lejeune and Marthe Gautier, studying in Professor Raymond Turpin’s laboratory, discovered the link between Down syndrome and trisomy 21 in 1958.

This helped families come out of the shadows with the scientific proof that it was a chromosome abnormality and not a result of sinful behavior.

Furthermore, Lejeune’s research was motivated by his deep Catholic faith and concern for others. The motto of his life was, “Just one sentence, spoken by Jesus himself, will suffice to determine our behavior: ‘Whatever you do for the least of my brethren, you do it for me.'”

He also had a special friendship with St. John Paul II, who appointed him the first president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Unfortunately, the results of his research were quickly used to promote abortion, targeting children with trisomy 21. This greatly disturbed Lejeune, who was fiercely opposed to the destruction of the unborn.

The enemies of life know that to destroy Christian civilization, they must first destroy the family at its weakest point — the child. And among the weakest, they must choose the least protected of all — the child who has never been seen; the child who is not yet known or loved in the usual meaning of the word; who has not yet seen the light of day; who cannot even cry out in distress.

Lejeune was a strong advocate for the patient, seeking to find cures instead of eliminating the patient.

Medicine becomes mad science when it attacks the patient instead of fighting the disease. We must always be on the patient’s side, always.

He died on April 3, 1994, which was Easter morning. Lejeune’s life has been inspiration to many and on June 28, 2007, his cause for canonization was officially opened. The Association of Friends of Professor Jérôme Lejeune was also created to help promote his cause and further the legacy of Lejeune.

Since then his cause has progressed and the positio, a synthesis of all the documents gathered about his life, was presented to the Vatican on May 5, 2017. Currently Lejeune is known as a “Servant of God,” and the next step would be a declaration of heroic virtues, leading to him being named “Venerable.”


Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb

Read more:
The religious order for women with and without Down syndrome is growing. Are you called?


Cormac Neeson

Read more:
How having a baby with Down syndrome changed this rock star’s music

Tags:
Down SyndromeSaints
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Andrea Bocelli
J-P Mauro
Andrea Bocelli to perform live Christmas conc...
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to t...
John Paul II
Philip Kosloski
St. John Paul II's guide to a fruitful Advent
CATHEDRAL OF THE SACRED HEART
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
6 Questions to determine if your heart is har...
ADVENT
Philip Kosloski
Prayer to be watchful during Advent
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.