Europe’s Oldest Person, A French Nun, Recovers From COVID-19 In Time For 117th Birthday

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Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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The oldest person in Europe, a French nun, has recovered from COVID-19 in time for her 117th birthday, numerous sources reported.

Lucile Randon, who adopted the name Sister André after joining a Catholic charitable order, is back to attending Mass and is set to celebrate her upcoming birthday weeks after testing positive for COVID-19 at her retirement home in southern France in mid-January, Reuters reported.

Sister André, who is blind and uses a wheelchair, had a relatively speedy recovery after the diagnosis, according to the Associated Press. She’s healthy enough to celebrate her 117th birthday on Thursday, a milestone considering she’s not only the oldest person in Europe, but the second oldest in the world, according to the Gerontology Research Group. Kane Tanaka, a Japanese woman, is the oldest, with a Jan. 2, 1903 birth date. 

“We consider her to be cured. She is very calm and she is looking forward to celebrating her 117th birthday on Thursday,” David Tavella, the communications manager for the retirement home where Sister André lives, said, according to Reuters. (RELATED: Turns Out World’s Oldest Person Might Be A Complete Sham)

The birthday will be celebrated with a small group of residents.

The nun was isolated from others and had no symptoms, and said she wasn’t scared to have COVID-19, Reuters reported. 

“No, I wasn’t scared because I wasn’t scared to die… I’m happy to be with you, but I would wish to be somewhere else – join my big brother and my grandfather and my grandmother,” she told France’s BFM Television.

She told French newspaper Var-Matin that she “didn’t even realize” she had COVID-19, according to the AP.

“She didn’t ask me about her health, but about her habits,” Tavella told Var-Matin.

“For example, she wanted to know if meal or bedtime schedules would change. She showed no fear of the disease. On the other hand, she was very concerned about the other residents.”

At Sister André’s retirement home, 81 of the 88 residents became infected with COVID-19, and nearly 10 died, according to Var-Matin.

“She has been very lucky,” Tavella said, according to Reuters.