CNN

Europe’s oldest person, a 116-year-old French nun, survives Covid-19

Feb 10, 2021, 6:09 AM
Sister Andre (C), Lucille Randon in the registry of birth, the eldest French citizen, talks with jo...
Sister Andre (C), Lucille Randon in the registry of birth, the eldest French citizen, talks with journalists during an event to celebrate her 116th birthday in the EHPAD (Housing Establishment for Dependant Elderly People) in Toulon, southern France, where she has been living since 2009. - Sister Andre was born February 11, 1904. (Photo by GERARD JULIEN / AFP) (Photo by GERARD JULIEN/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by GERARD JULIEN/AFP via Getty Images)

    (CNN) — Europe’s oldest person has survived Covid-19 after testing positive just a few weeks before her 117th birthday.

Sister André, a nun who was born in 1904, tested positive for the virus on January 16, according to David Tavella, communications director at the Sainte Catherine Labouré nursing home in Toulon, southern France, where she lives.

André, who was born Lucille Randon, showed no symptoms, Tavella said in an interview with public radio station France Inter.

“I didn’t know I had it,” André said in an interview with CNN affiliate BFMTV. “No, I wasn’t scared because I wasn’t scared of dying.”

André is preparing to celebrate her 117th birthday on Thursday, and Tavella told France Inter her favorite birthday meal includes foie gras and baked Alaska.

“Sister André’s birthday is taking place at a good time — it couldn’t be a better time, because it will mark the beginning of big festivities that will be organized around this relaxing of our restrictions,” Tavella told BFMTV. “Our residents will be able to get out of their rooms, eat together, participate in activities.”

André worked as a governess and a teacher, teaching the children to be “very polite,” she told French TV station CNEWS.

She has lived through two world wars as well as the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic — she told CNEWS she didn’t catch the deadly virus — and remains philosophical about the coronavirus.

“It will come and go,” she told BFMTV. “I don’t know.”

André is the second-oldest person alive today, after Kane Tanaka, a Japanese woman who was born on January 2, 1903, according to the Gerontology Research Group (GRG).

André became the oldest living person in France in October 2017 following the death of Honorine Rondello, and is the second-oldest French person ever, following Jeanne Calment, who lived to 122.

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Europe’s oldest person, a 116-year-old French nun, survives Covid-19