A French nun, who is believed to be Europe’s oldest-living person, has successfully defeated coronavirus at age 116.
According The Washington Post, Sister André was among the 81 residents at Sainte Catherine Labouré retirement home who tested positive for the disease last month. Though 10 of those residents reportedly died from the disease, Sister André —birth name Lucile Randon—was said to have made a full recovery by Tuesday, just two days before her 117th birthday. Sister André had not displayed any symptoms, and told France’s BFM television she was never in fear for her life.
“No, I wasn’t scared because I wasn’t scared to die…” she said, as reported by Reuters. “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.”
David Tavella, the communications manager for the retirement home, told French newspaper Var-Matin that Sister André was more concerned about the possible changes to her routine as well as the health other residents.
“She didn’t ask me about her health, but about her habits,” Tavella said. “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.”
Sister André, who is blind and uses a wheelchair, is said to be the second-oldest living person in the world. According to the Gerontology Research Group’s World Supercentenarian Rankings List, the world’s oldest person is Kane Tanaka, a Japanese woman who turned 118 on Jan. 2.
Sister André was born in Southern France to a Protestant family, and converted to Catholicism at 19. She would go on to work as a tutor and a caretaker, and became a nun at age 40.
Tavella told Reuters that the retirement home will celebrate Sister André’s birthday on Thursday, but said the event will be smaller than previous years due to COVID-19 concerns.
“She’s been very lucky,” Tavella said.