Europe’s oldest person, French nun Sister Andre, has survived COVID-19 and will celebrate her 117th birthday this week, her caregivers said.
Lucile Randon, who took the name of Sister Andre when she joined a Catholic charitable order in 1944, tested positive for coronavirus in her retirement home in Toulon, southern France, on Jan. 16. She was isolated from other residents, but displayed no symptoms.
Asked if she was scared to have COVID, Sister Andre told France’s BFM television, “No, I wasn’t scared because I wasn’t scared to die… I’m happy to be with you, but I would wish to be somewhere else – join my big brother and my grandfather and my grandmother.”
David Tavella, spokesman for the Sainte Catherine Labouré retirement home, said she was doing well.
Tavella said she is looking forward to celebrating her 117th birthday on Thursday (February 11).
He said Sister Andre, who is blind but very spirited, will celebrate her birthday with a smaller group of residents than usual because of coronavirus infection risk.
“Our residents will be able to get out of their rooms, eat together, participate in activities,” Tavella said. “This will allow us to bring everyone together once again, and we owe this to our eldest resident. It’s very touching and relieving for the residents, for the families and for the care workers.”
Sister Andre, who was born on Feb. 11, 1904, is the world’s second-oldest living person according to the Gerontology Research Group’s (GRG) World Supercentenarian Rankings List. The oldest person is Japan’s Kane Tanaka, who turned 118 on Jan. 2.
The world’s 20 oldest people in the GRG list are all female.
(Production: Ardee Napolitano)