World’s oldest person, French nun, dies aged 118

World’s oldest person, French nun, dies aged 118

The French nun Lucile Randon, who is considered the oldest person in the world and who took the name Sister Andrée as a nun, died on Monday night (16), Tuesday morning local time. She was born on February 11, 1904 and was 118 years old.

Sister Andrée became the oldest person on the planet after the death of Kane Tanaka in April last year. The Japanese woman was 119 years old at the time. Also in 2022, but in January, Spaniard Saturnino de la Fuente García, believed to be the world’s oldest man, died shortly before his 113th birthday.

The oldest living person confirmed in the Guinness Book of World Records was Jeanne Louise Calment of France, who died in 1997 at the age of 122 years and 164 days.

Sister Andrée’s story became known in 2021 when she was recovering from a coronavirus infection five days before her 117th birthday. She was infected at the nursing home where she lived in Toulon (southeastern France) where, of the 88 residents, 81 became infected and 10 died.

At that time she remained sane. In an interview with French radio last year, she said she suffered greatly during World War I, which began when she was ten, and claimed to remember her two brothers, who returned from the front are, one of them badly wounded.

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The granddaughter of a Protestant pastor, Lucile was born in the town of Alès in southern France, the year New York inaugurated its first subway and when the Tour de France cycling competition was contested only once. She converted to Catholicism at the age of 27 and was a governess before entering a convent in 1944 at the age of 40. After the Second World War, he cared for the elderly and orphans at the Vichy Hospital for 28 years. It worked until the late 1970s.

Until the last months of her life, she made an effort to go to mass every morning, always in her religious uniform and a blue shawl covering her hair. Because of her age, Sister Andrée was blind and used a wheelchair. In recent days, already weakened, she has been closely watched by professionals specialized in palliative care.

In 2020, Sister Andrée told French radio she didn’t know how she had lived so long. “I have no idea what the secret is. Only God can answer that question.” She died in her sleep at the nursing home where she was staying in Toulon at 2 a.m. local time this Tuesday (10 p.m. on Monday in Brasilia).

“There is great sadness, however […] it was his desire to join his beloved brother. It’s a liberation for them,” David Tavella, head of the nursing home, told AFP.

Sister Teresa, another resident of the home, said Andrée’s mission is to help others and that “her faith gave her strength”. She said the door to the French woman’s room was always open to anyone who wanted to come and say hello.

With the French woman’s death, American Maria Branyas Morera, 115, becomes the world’s oldest living person, according to the Gerontology Research Group. Nun Inah Canabarro Lucas, 114, is the oldest in Brazil and the fifth on the planet.