Dr. Jerome LeJeune is dead. These five simple words have shocked and saddened pro-lifers around the world; five words that mark the end of a life that contributed so much to the betterment of mankind.
It Is impossible, in just a few sentences, to do justice to Jerome LeJeune, for he is truly one of the great men of our time. A physician and research scientist, he is best known for his work in genetics. Early in his career he discovered the extra chromosome which is the cause of Down Syndrome, a discovery which opened the way to a new field of human pathology and medicine. As well as conducting this research LeJeune continued his work as Professor of Fundamental Genetics in the University of Paris and at l’Hospital des Enfants Malades in the same city. His work at the hospital was with disabled, mainly retarded, children from around the world.
Professor LeJeune has been honoured internationally by the American Academy of Arts and Science, Royal Society of Medicine (London), the Science Academy in Italy, the Royal Society of Medicine (London), the Science Academy in Italy, the Royal Society of Science in Stockholm, to name a few. He received the first Kennedy Award for his discovery of the cause of Down Syndrome, and the William Allen Memorial Award which is the highest award in the world of genetics. He was also a member of the Pontifical Academy of Science, an international group of seventy members, almost two thirds of whom are Nobel Prize winners.
But Jerome LeJeune was not just a research scientist, intent on his work in a laboratory; he was a man of culture , with a love and knowledge of the arts, especially music and literature. He was a notable linguist and could converse and lecture in many languages. He was, in addition, a wonderful teacher.
Jerome LeJeune, a Roman Catholic, was a man of deep religious faith which illumined and governed his life. His family was very dear to him, and he extended that love to all humanity, born or preborn, handicapped or healthy. It was this love, both for the children and their parents, that led him to devote so much of his energy, and genius, to trying to find a cure for, or a way of preventing, mental retardation. He did not succeed in this life but he has laid a firm foundation for future research.
It was this same love for all humans that led him to take a world-leading role in striving to protect preborn children from abortion, embryos (created in vitro_ from experimentation; and both mothers and children from abortifacients such as RU 486. Pro-lifers across the world were grateful, beyond words, when he brought his vast scientific knowledge – and his international reputation – to support their pro-life efforts, in Canada, the U.S.A., Great Britain, Switzerland and Australia.
Jerome LeJeune (physician, world-renown geneticist, family man, Christian, scholar, teacher, gentleman, pro-life leader, protector of the unborn child, friend of the handicapped) is dead, and the world is a poorer place. May he help us from Heaven. Requiescat in Pace.