Mercatonet has a story on the French doctor who discovered that a patient with Down’s had an extra chromosome at the 21st pair.
…The genetic diagnosis known as Trisomy 21 was born, establishing the first ever link between mental disability and a chromosome disorder — and heralding a new era in genetics.
It was a discovery of incalculable importance to people with the condition and their families — if only at first from a symbolic point of view. The embarrassing and misleading term "mongolism" was gradually retired (although it still crops up) and the term Down’s adopted after John Langdon Down who first described the syndrome.
But Lejeune’s contribution went beyond the scientific into the realm of what we might call "public relations" as he sought to open people’s eyes to the human dignity of those affected by the syndrome and their claim on our love and effort. With his trademark combination of precise observation, moral insight and poetry he once wrote:
|With their slightly slanting eyes, their little nose in a round face and their unfinished features, trisomic children are more child-like than other children. All children have short hands and short fingers; theirs are shorter. Their entire anatomy is more rounded, without any asperities or stiffness. Their ligaments, their muscles, are so supple that it adds a tender languor to their way of being. And this sweetness extends to their character: they are communicative and affectionate, they have a special charm which is easier to cherish than to describe. This is not to say that Trisomy 21 is a desirable condition. It is an implacable disease which deprives the child of that most precious gift handed down to us through genetic heredity: the full power of rational thought. This combination of a tragic chromosomic error and a naturally endearing nature, immediately shows what medicine is all about: hatred of disease and love of the diseased."|
If only doctors who are so quick to recommend abortion in these circumstances had the same understanding.
Earlier this month, Paris Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois launched the process for his beatification.
From the father of a beautiful 3-year old girl with down syndrome, thanks for posting this.
To Fr. Tim – fortunately there is also a new research institute at Stanford actually working on treatments, rather than on a way to kill them all sooner.
The J�r�me Lejeune Foundation is, I think, the only organisation that is actually working to find a cure for trisomy rather than early detection for the purposes of killing.
I’m delighted to hear that there is a cause for Lejeune.
Roy Rogers and Dale Evans had a Down’s Syndrome child (the only natural child they had between them, although both, who had been widowed, had children from prior marriages, plus others that they had adopted). Their daughter, Robin, also had a defective heart. The “experts” told them to institutionalize her, “since you’re not going to raise her”. Roy said: No; God has a plan for this child, and, if we don’t raise her, we’ll never know what that plan is.
Robin died two days before her second birthday, and was buried on her birthday. Dale Evans wrote a book about her, called “Angel Unaware”. She and Roy received hundreds of thousands of letters from parents of Down’s Syndrome children, thanking them. They began to see hundreds of Down’s Syndrome children at their personal appearances. In later years, they called Robin “the greatest blessing we ever received”.
Lejeune was a mastermind.
He spoke science with artistry and defended pro-life positions eloquently.
Fr. Denis E. O’Brien and Jerome Lejeune were dear friends. In Fr. O’Brien’s own words, while Jerome was working on a cure, Fr. O’Brien would offer Mass for those intentions. Fr. O’Brien is the brain behind American Life League and started a Mission in the Yucatan for children and adults with Downs Syndrome. Please help to carry on their work. Visit Pastoral de Amor here
Read Judie Brown’s message after the death of Fr. O’Brien
Thank you for your consideration
I consider him my daughter’s patron saint. She has Down Syndrome, and Dr. LeJeune not only advanced the the medical understanding of Trisomy 21, but fought the social stigma with which these people are treated. In France, the public of his time believed that Down Syndrome was contagious, contracted from the mother who had syphyllis, so they crossed the street to avoid individuals with Downs. Dr LeJeune’s love for them caused him to be ostracized by his colleagues at the University, yet he was an exemplary husband and father, all making an impelling cause for sainthood.
Dr. LeJeune’s biography “Life is a Blessing” is featured on my post here http://causa-nostrae-laetitiae.blogspot.com/2007/04/sanctity-meets-science.html
Were any of Dr. LeJeune’s ancestors Jesuits? He bears the same last name as Fr. Paul LeJeune, who was a missionary in Quebec in the 1600s. He was a colleague of several [if not all] of the North American Martyrs.
I am thrilled to read this news. Dr. Lejeune was a true champion for life.
Beautiful. Thank you.
irishgirl, Lejeune is a fairly common name in francophone countries, so whether there is a connection between them is possible though not certain.
Thanks for the clarification, Skyhawk.
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