Tuesday, March 18, 2014
6:00 pm EDT - 7:00 pm EDT
In 1958, Dr. Jérôme Lejeune discovered that an extra copy of chromosome 21 was responsible for the condition known as Down syndrome. He then dedicated his life to conducting research for a cure for Down syndrome and caring for thousands of those affected by it. Dr. Lejeune once said: “Just one sentence, spoken by Jesus himself, will suffice to determine our behavior: ‘Whatever you do for the least of my brethren, you do it for me.” Throughout his life, he was an outspoken advocate for the dignity of every human life and was eventually named the first president of the Pontifical Academy for Life by Pope John Paul II. The cause of the beatification and canonization of Jérôme Lejeune was opened on June 28, 2007.
The witness of Jérôme Lejeune is critical today in a culture which so often equates human worth with utility. Dr. Lejeune, by contrast, believed that every human life, even a life with unexpected characteristics, has an intrinsic value, and that recognizing such value is necessary for our own happiness. His work demonstrates that it is possible to love each person as a gift and that making a gift of ourselves will lead to true fulfillment. During this presentation, the panelists will explore how this kind of love is possible by looking at the life of Lejeune and the experience of parents of children with Down syndrome.
Mark Bradford has served as President of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, USA, based in Philadelphia, PA, since July 1, 2012. Prior to that he was the Executive Vice President at The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) where his responsibilities included managing the daily operations of the Center, promotion of the Center’s programs, fund-raising, and constituent relations. After many years in secondary education and then as a seminary professor, Mark turned his attention to business administration, first as a head of school for a small Catholic prep school, before joining the staff of the NCBC.
The Jérôme Lejeune Foundation was founded in 1996 and is the world’s largest private funder of research into Down syndrome and other genetic intellectual disabilities. With offices in Paris and Philadelphia, the Foundation seeks to provide hope to families, and to fund the most promising research being conducted throughout the world to improve the lives of those living with genetic intellectual disabilities. The Foundation’s mission is based upon three closely joined pillars of activity: research, care, and advocacy, all carried out in a spirit of profound respect for the dignity of all human persons.
Mark is married to his wife Denise, and together they have 7 children, one of which is blessed with an extra 21st chromosome.
Steven Brown is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The Catholic University of America, and editor of A Reason Open to God: On Universities, Education, and Culture (2013), a collection of speeches, letters, and addresses by Pope Benedict XVI on the relationship between faith and intellectual life. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Provost Award for Overall Teaching in 2011. He is an Associate Editor of HVAC&R Research, and is a registered professional engineer in the State of Maryland.
Aude Dugast has served as Postulator of the Cause for Canonization of Jérôme Lejeune in Rome since the beginning of the Roman process, in September 2012. Prior to being appointed postulator, she had served as vice-postulator during the diocesan process, which opened in June 2007 in Paris.
Before being asked to serve the Cause for Canonization of Jérôme Lejeune, from 1999 to 2012 she worked for the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation in Paris as Editor in chief of Genethique (a daily newsletter and analysis in bioethics published by the Foundation), and also as Communications Director. As Communications Director, she was also in charge of fundraising and, thanks to her academic formation in philosophy, of bioethics as well. She was particularly involved in the publication of the Manuel Bioetique des Jeunes (in English, “A Student’s Guide to Bioethics”).
In her last two years at the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, she was Director of the new Bioethic Studies Department, and in charge of developing research on new topics regarding Bioethics and Human life. At that point, she turned her attention to the New Feminism, looking for a new way to promote the Culture of Life. Prior to joining the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation staff in 1999, she was a teacher in secondary education for orphans, and developed a department of communication in an association for the visually impaired.
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