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Jérôme Lejeune

Jérôme Lejeune

Saintly Geneticist

by Ana Braga-Henebry

Illustrated by Anita Barghigiani

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As a young boy, Jérôme Lejeune wanted to study medicine. When he grew up, not only did he become a doctor, but he made a groundbreaking discovery about Down syndrome and fiercely advocated for every child’s right to life. This picture book biography about a Catholic pediatrician who became a pioneer of scientific research will inspire young readers with its remarkable story and stunning illustrations. Declared venerable by the Catholic Church, Dr. Lejeune is an example of faith, integrity, and courage.

More Info

Publisher: Word on Fire Votive
ISBN: 978-1-68578-097-5
Binding: Hardcover
Page count: 48
Dimensions: 20.96 x 26.04 (cm)
Thickness: 1.04 (cm)
Language: English
Release date: May 20, 2024
Age Range: 5-12
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About the Author

Ana Braga-Henebry grew up the seventh of ten children in Rio de Janeiro and earned an M.A. in Humanities. Together with her husband Geoff, a scientist and professor at a major state university, she raised seven children who today are college/graduate students, a Marine Corps officer, a Norbertine sister, a musician and a computer engineer. Ana is a lifelong educator. She loves to garden and to cook while listening to audiobooks. Ana writes and speaks about books and Catholic family life.

About the Illustrator

Anita Barghigiani graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence. She currently lives in the woods between Florence and Bologna, where she works, plays the guitar, and actively helps animals as a volunteer.

What People are Saying

“I'm delighted with the publication of this new book, which beautifully recounts the life of Venerable Jérôme Lejeune, a famous doctor and great friend to children. This renowned scientist changed the world of genetics by discovering Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome). With unconditional love for his young patients, he placed his brilliant mind and scientific research in their service, changing the lives of so many with Trisomy 21. He knew that every child, every patient, every disabled person has an infinite value and a precious life. Doctor Lejeune is also a great model of devotion to marriage and family and a man of deep faith. Since the Catholic Church declared him venerable, many young scientists have looked to his example. May this little book inspire young people to become faithful Catholic doctors who will serve with deep love and faith in God, and to become, like Doctor Lejeune, courageous servants of life and truth.”

— Aude Dugast, Postulator of the Cause of Canonization of Jérôme Lejeune

“Children now have a front row seat for a course not only about genetics—but about a pioneer doctor who believed in the abilities of all people with Down syndrome.”

— Dr. Brian Skotko, Emma Campbell Endowed Chair on Down Syndrome, Massachusetts General Hospital & Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School

“I love how Braga-Henebry's story introduces us to one of the Church's newest Venerables, Jérôme Lejeune, through beautiful storytelling and illustration. Lejeune recognized the inherent worth in every child, regardless of diagnosis, and we need that message today more than ever. As the parent of two disabled children and an advocate for Catholic special needs parents, I'm happy to see a book that teaches the important lesson that we are all wanted and loved by God, and consequently his Church, exactly the way we were created. All parents will enjoy sharing this story with their children.”

— Kelly Mantoan, Founder, Accepting the Gift, a ministry for Catholic special needs parents, and author, Better Than OK: Finding Joy as a Special Needs Parent

“I pray that this book finds its way into every Christian home. The world needs courageous young men and women who, inspired by the life and legacy of Jérôme Lejeune, will defend the sanctity of human life and see the inherent dignity in every person.”

— Stephanie Weinert, Down Syndrome Advocate, Special Needs Mom, and founder, Mother & Home

“In this amazing new book your children will meet Jérôme LeJeune, the greatest European geneticist of his generation but even more importantly, a pro-life hero, indeed a saint. Barghigiani's warm but bright illustrations will capture their eyes; Braga-Henebry's clear and welcoming prose will conquer their imaginations, and the future of the Culture of Life will gain loyal, devoted ambassadors.”

— Christopher T. Baglow, Professor of the Practice of Theology, McGrath Institute for Church Life, University of Notre Dame​

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