Surviving two world wars and Covid-19: Europe's oldest woman turns 117

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Feb 11, 2021, 12:13 PM(IST)

Sister Andre Photograph:( AFP )

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On her last birthday, she said her fondest memories when her two brothers returned after the end of the first World War, calling her a 'rare' event

French nun Sister Andre, who has seen two world wars and survived novel coronavirus, turned 117 on Sunday. 

Andre is the world's second-oldest living person and Europe's oldest, according to the Gerontology Research Group. 

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Born Lucile Randon on February 11, 1904, the nun was not aware that she contracted Covid-19, the virus which has infected 81 residents of her retirement home in the southeast city of Toulon and killed 10 from that list. 

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"I'm told that I got it," the nun told news agency AFP ahead of her birthday. 

"I was very tired, it's true, but I didn't realise it."

David Tavella, spokesman for the Sainte-Catherine-Laboure nursing home, said the nun had "experienced a triple confinement: in her wheelchair, in her room and without a visit".

"So her birthday, it reinvigorates us," he said.

She said she has not planned anything special for her 117th birthday, but there will be a special mass where a birthday feast of foie gras, capon fillet with porcini mushrooms and Sister Andre's favourite dessert: baked Alaska, washed down with a glass of port will be prepared. 

Andre says her favourite food is lobster and is found of wine. 

"I drink a small glass of wine every day, Andre said. 

On her last birthday, she said her fondest memories when her two brothers returned after the end of the first World War, calling her a "rare" event. 

Andre at the age of 26 was baptised after getting converted and joined the Daughters of Charity order of nuns at 41. 

When asked of any message to young people, she said: "Be brave and show compassion".

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