A friend posted the picture below on Facebook, and it reminded me of this book. It has been several years since I read it, so I'm a little hazy on the details, but I clearly remember how much I loved the man whose life it relates. It's the biography of Jerome Lejeune, the man who discovered that the cause of Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome) is an extra 21st chromosome. It is the story of an excellent geneticist and doctor, but more importantly, it is the story of an exemplary Catholic man.
The book is written by his daughter, Clara Lejeune-Gaymard, and it is immediately evident that Dr. Lejeune was an excellent and beloved husband and father. He also cared very deeply about his patients as people and hoped that his research would help them to live better lives. Unfortunately, he began to see that the knowledge that he had discovered would soon be used to destroy the lives of these children instead of improve them, and he began to speak out against abortion which kept him from advancing in his career, probably caused him to lose the Nobel prize, and even endangered his life.
His work was recognized in another quarter, though, and in 1994, Pope John Paul II chose Lejeune as the first president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Sadly, Lejeune was already suffering from cancer at that time and died shortly afterward. His cause for beatification is in its early stages.
I think that it's a good idea for us read about people like this, who did what was right in the certain knowledge that they were going to suffer for steadfastness. It may be that some of us will have to make the kind of decisions that he was called upon to make, and it's probably best to make them now in a time of peace. And we should be praying for fortitude and perseverance.
You can read more about Jerome Lejeune here.