Answer: Dr. Jerome Lejeune and his wife, Birthe LeJeune.
On May 13, 1981, Jerome and his wife were in Rome. The Holy Father wished to receive them in a private audience. After the discussion, the Pope spontaneously invited them to stay for lunch. The same evening, on their way back to Paris, they learned about the attack on John Paul II, a few hours after they had left him. Jerome’s health was shaken by this news.
John Paul II later appointed Dr Lejeune to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. When he created the Pontifical Academy for Life, he made Dr. Lejeune president of that Academy, just prior to his death of cancer in Paris in 1994.
Jérôme Lejeune died on Easter Sunday, 1994. The day after Dr. Lejeune’s death John Paul II spoke these words:
“We find ourselves today faced with the death of a great Christian of the twentieth century, a man for whom the defense of life had become an apostolate. It is clear that, in the situation of the world today, this form of apostolate among the laity is particularly necessary… “
In 1997 John Paul II visited his friend’s grave during World Youth Day in Paris. One of the French journalists commented on the event with the following pun: The Pope visited “the young” (“les jeunes”) and Lejeune.
1 Comment so far
Leave a comment