World’s oldest known person, French nun, dies at 118 – ABC News

World’s oldest known person, French nun, dies at 118 – ABC News

PARIS — A French nun who was believed to be the world’s oldest person but was reportedly growing weary of the burdens of old age, died just weeks before her 119th birthday, her nursing home in southern France said on Wednesday .

Lucile Randon, known as Sister André, was born on February 11, 1904 in the town of Ales in southern France and lived through the two world wars. As a little girl, she was amazed when she first encountered electric lights at school and recently survived COVID-19 without even realizing she was infected.

Spokesman David Tavella said she died at 2am on Tuesday at the Sainte-Catherine-Laboure care home in the southern port city of Toulon.

The Gerontology Research Group, which validates details of people believed to be 110 or older, listed her as the world’s oldest known person after the death of 119-year-old Japanese Kane Tanaka last year.

The oldest living known person in the world listed by the Gerontology Research Group is American-born Maria Branyas Morera, residing in Spain, aged 115.

Sister André tested positive for the coronavirus in January 2021, just before her 117th birthday, but had so few symptoms that she didn’t even realize she was infected. Their survival made headlines both in France and beyond.

When asked about her exceptional longevity in two world wars in April last year, she told French media: “Working… makes you live. I worked until I was 108.”

But local newspaper Midi Libre reported Sister Andre said in 2020 after recovering from COVID-19 that “God has forgotten me”.

Her health was declining and the newspaper reported that when she visited her last May she was suffering from old age, with loss of vision, poor hearing and a face distorted by joint pain.

In better times, Sister Andre enjoyed a glass of wine and some chocolate every day and toasted her 117th birthday in 2021 with champagne, red wine and port.

“It made me very, very, very, very happy,” she said in a phone interview with The Associated Press at the time. “Because I’ve met all the ones I love and I thank heaven for giving them to me. I thank God for the trouble they have taken.”

Sister Andre, who reportedly took her religious name in honor of a favorite brother, recalled the highlights of her long life in a May interview with Midi Libre, saying: “The happiest day of my life was the Armistice (end of the World War). I) was proclaimed” and the population of Ales gathered in the main square to sing the French national anthem.

Electricity, first experienced as a little girl turning on a light in a classroom, was a new word to her and, as she put it, “a joy”.

Jeanne Calment, a French woman who also lived in the south of France, died in 1997 at the age of 122, reportedly the record for long life.