Lucile Randon, world’s oldest person, dies at 118 – Al Jazeera English

Lucile Randon, world’s oldest person, dies at 118 – Al Jazeera English

Randon, who became a nun in 1944, said work and caring for others were the main reasons for her long life.

The world’s oldest person, French nun Lucile Randon, has died at the age of 118.

Randon, who took the name Sister Andre when she became a nun in 1944, died in her sleep on Tuesday at the nursing home where she was staying.

“There is great sadness, but … it was her desire to join her beloved brother. It’s a liberation for them,” David Tavella, spokesman for the Sainte-Catherine-Laboure nursing home in Toulon, southern France, told AFP.

Born on February 11, 1904, Randon was the oldest living person in the world according to the World Supercentenarian Rankings List by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG).

Long recognized as the oldest person in Europe, she became the oldest in the world at 119 after the death of Japanese Kane Tanaka last year. Guinness World Records officially recognized their status in April 2022.

Randon was born the year New York opened its first subway, and World War I was still a decade away.

She grew up in a Protestant family as the only girl of three brothers and lived in the southern French town of Ales.

One of her fondest memories is the return of two of her brothers at the end of the war in 1918, she told AFP in an interview on her 116th birthday.

“It was rare, in families there were usually two dead instead of two alive. They both came back,” she said.

Randon worked as a governess in Paris – a period she once described as the happiest of her life – for the children of wealthy families.

She became a Catholic and was baptized at the age of 26.

Driven by a desire to “go further”, she joined the Daughters of Charity nunnery at the age of 41.

Sister Andre then came to a hospital in Vichy, France, where she worked for 31 years.

In later life she moved to Toulon on the Mediterranean coast.

Her days in the nursing home were marked by prayers, mealtimes, and visits from residents and hospice workers.

She also received a steady stream of letters, almost all of which she replied to.

In 2021, she survived a bout of COVID-19.

“Work kept me alive”

Randon told reporters last year that her work and caring for others has kept her fit.

“People say work kills, for me work kept me alive, I kept working until I was 108,” she told reporters in the home’s tea room in April last year.

Despite being blind and using a wheelchair, she used to take care of other elderly people who were much younger than herself.

“People should help each other and love each other instead of hating. If we shared all that, everything would be much better,” she said at the same meeting with journalists.

It’s likely that France’s new oldest person is now 112-year-old Marie-Rose Tessier, a woman from Vendee, longevity expert Laurent Toussaint told AFP.

But Toussaint warned that it was always possible that someone even older had not yet come forward.

Jeanne Calment, who died in Arles, southern France, in 1997 at the age of 122, holds the record for the oldest confirmed human age.