The world is remembering Lucile Randon, a.k.a. Sister Andre, today who died at the age of 118 at the Sainte-Catherine-Laboure nursing home in Toulon, France. She was believed to be the oldest person alive and was just weeks away from her 119th birthday.
She was born in 1904 and lived through both world wars and most recently COVID-19. Sister Andre was named the world’s oldest person last year by the Gerontology Research Group, which validates details of people thought to be 110 or older, after Kane Tanaka passed away at the age of 119 in Japan.
She has made headlines throughout her life, but she recently made a splash in the French press when it was reported that she had been infected with COVID-19 right before her 117th birthday but she had so few symptoms that she wasn’t even aware she had it. The news of her survival became a source of hope to millions of folks afraid of catching the virus.
So, what was her secret for staying alive for so long?
“Working … makes you live. I worked until I was 108,” she told local reporters last April.
The nun was also known for enjoying a glass of red wine and chocolate on a regular basis. She celebrated your 117th with some Champagne, port, and wine.
“Her glass of wine maintains her and which is perhaps her longevity secret. I don’t know – I don’t encourage people to drink a glass of wine every day!” said one of the staff members from her nursing home.
She talked about what it’s like to turn 117 in a recent interview with the Associated Press.
“It made me very, very, very, very happy,” she said of the historic milestone. “Because I met all those I love and I thank the heavens for giving them to me. I thank God for the trouble they went to.”
She has worked as a teacher and governess for children during WWII and says the happiest day of her life was when the armistice was declared at the end of WWI. She also worked at a hospital in Vichy, France for 26 years looking after orphaned children.
French President Emmanual Macron also honored Sister Andre on the day of her death. “She had become for the French a symbol of continuity and resistance, a memory of the century,” his office said in a statement. He also referred to her as an “altruistic personality whom the French considered as a reference, a source of pride and attachment.”