Oil Dedicated to Venerable Jérôme Lejeune
Faith and charity the two forces that drove Venerable Jérôme Lejeune the French physician. Who discovered the genetic underpinnings of Down syndrome. Said the woman overseeing the movement to declare him a saint.
Aude Dugast, the Paris-based postulator of the cause of canonization of Venerable Jérôme Lejeune. Spoke with Aleteia Wednesday, days after Pope Francis approved a key step advancing that cause. On January 21, the pope authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. To promulgate a decree concerning the heroic virtues of Lejeune. He now will referred to as Venerable Jérôme Lejeune.
The profession in which Lejeune worked very often would pit intelligence against faith, but “he the opposite,” Dugast said.
Lejeune was born in 1926 in the Paris suburb of Montrouge. He studied medicine, then became a researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research in 1952. In July 1958, assisted by Marthe Gautier, he established a link between a state of mental debility and a chromosomal aberration, by the presence of an extra chromosome on the 21st pair, thus discovering trisomy 21.
This caused a revolution in the thinking of the time. As Jason Jones and John Zmirak have written, the families of Down syndrome children for decades had lived under a false moral stigma, since it was widely believed that the child’s “retardation” was the side-effect of syphilis in the mother, which was associated in the popular mind with prostitution.
“By offering rock-solid proof of a biological cause for Down syndrome, Lejeune helped the parents of such children move in from out of the shadows,” Jones and Zmirak wrote. But he didn’t stop there, as they documented:
Lejeune went on to uncover the genetic basis for another devastating birth defect, Cri-du-Chat Syndrome, and made advances in understanding the causes of Fragile-X Syndrome.