The personal life and professional character of Dr. Jérôme Lejeune were a seamless garment of pro-life philosophy and action. This is what comes through in Life Is a Blessing: A Biography of Jérôme Lejeune, lovingly written by his daughter Clara Lejeune-Gaymard.
Clara describes the compassion and hope he shared with families affected by Down syndrome. People called him at any hour—day or night—for his counsel. He would drop everything to spend hours with them.
Once, while attending an international health conference at the United Nations, Dr. Lejeune was the lone pro-life voice when abortion was being debated. He asked, “Is life a fact or a desire?” and admonished his audience: “Here we see an institute of health that is turning itself into an institute of death.” That evening he wrote to his wife, “This afternoon I lost my Nobel Prize.”
In the social upheaval of the 1960s, there were some frightening moments for the Lejeune children. At the medical school where he taught, they saw terrible graffiti: “Dr. Lejeune is an assassin! Kill Dr. Lejeune! Dr. Lejeune and his little monsters must die.”
Clara laments, “He who hated no one, who always said, ‘I am not fighting people; I am fighting false ideas,’ is even today the object of unconcealed fury on the part of those who set themselves up as apostles of tolerance.”
She sees her father as a dry martyr of the abortion battle:
But here is a man who, because his convictions as a physician prohibited him from following the trends of the time, was banned from society, dropped by his friends, humiliated, crucified by the press, prevented from working for lack of funding. Here is the one who became, for certain people, a man to be beaten down; for others, a man not worth jeopardizing your reputation with; and for others, an incompetent extremist.
Pope John Paul II called him Brother Jérôme. To Clara, her father was a great Christian:
If he suffered, he never let us see it. In the face of insults he used to smile, saying, “It is not for myself that I’m fighting, and so these attacks don’t matter.” … He lived his faith … and from it he drew courage, kindness, attentiveness to others, and above all, what was most striking: the absence of fear.
You can purchase a copy of "Life is a Blessing" at AmP Publisher's Group.