PARIS (FRANCE) – Sister Andre, the oldest person in Europe, turned 117 on Thursday and she celebrated her birthday with a cake and a prayer after recovering from the coronavirus weeks earlier.
She also overcame the Spanish Flu a century ago and said her birthday brought her great joy.
“I met all those that I loved and thanked God for giving them to me,” said Lucile Randon, who assumed the name of Andre when she joined a Catholic religious congregation in 1944.
Sister Andre sat peacefully in her wheelchair with her hands clasped when she received a blessing from the bishop of Toulon after mass in the chapel of the nursing home where she resides.
Because of pandemic curbs, her family could not visit the blind nun, who received greetings from the office of President Emmanuel Macron.
The nun, who was born on Feb. 11, 1904, has witnessed two global pandemics. In fact, she was a teenager when the Spanish Flu struck, affecting one-third of the global population between 1918 and 1920.
She lost her brother to the pandemic that claimed 50 million lives.
Sister Andre tested positive on Jan. 16 but displayed no symptoms.
“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,” she told BFM TV earlier this week.
The French nun is the world’s second-oldest living person according to the Gerontology Research Group. The person who holds the record for the oldest living person is Japan’s Kane Tanaka, who is 118.