Denver Newsroom, Dec 18, 2021 / 04:00 am
A documentary produced by a French filmmaker about Venerable Jerome Lejeune, a Catholic doctor and scientist who left a legacy of caring for people with Down syndrome, is set to air this January on EWTN.
Lejeune is perhaps best known for discovering the genetic cause of Trisomy 21, or Down syndrome, in 1959, a discovery that made him famous and world-renowned.
Once offensively termed "Mongolism," Down syndrome was little-understood for centuries, and those with it, and their parents, were often marginalized and stigmatized well into the 19th and 20th centuries. The film features numerous parents speaking about the challenges and stigmatization they faced after their child was found to have Down syndrome, with one mother even saying that the hospital urged her to abandon her child.
Lejeune, a Frenchman and devout Catholic, saw himself as a "country doctor," and cared deeply for his patients. A colleague of Lejeune's had long suspected that the cause of Down syndrome might be linked to chromosomes, and asked Lejeune to come and work with children with Down syndrome.