117-Year-Old Has Now Survived 2 Pandemics

World's second-oldest person ready to celebrate birthday in France
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2021 6:45 AM CST
117-Year-Old's Birthday Present: Surviving COVID
Sister Andre, born Lucile Randon, is interviewed by David Tavella, Communications Manager for the Sainte Catherine Laboure Nursing Home in Toulon, France, on Tuesday.   (BFM TV via AP)

The world's second-oldest person has now survived two global pandemics before her 117th birthday. Sister André, a retired French nun with the given name Lucile Randon, was on Tuesday declared recovered from the coronavirus, which infected 81 of 88 residents of her retirement home in Toulon. "We consider her to be cured," David Tavella of the Sainte Catherine Labouré retirement home tells Reuters, adding the blind woman who uses a wheelchair is "very calm" and "looking forward to celebrating her 117th birthday on Thursday." He tells Var-Matin newspaper that Sister André "showed no fear of the illness"—she told one media outlet that she would happily reunite with her deceased family members, per the Washington Post—and "was more worried about the other residents."

Ten residents of the retirement home have died, per Le Parisien. Diagnosed on Jan. 16, the oldest living European, who spent almost three decades caring for elderly people and orphaned children, was "very lucky," Tavella says. Though she was forced to isolate in her room for weeks, spending most of that time praying, she didn't experience any coronavirus symptoms. Her 117th birthday celebration, coming a century after she survived the 1918 flu epidemic, will involve just a small group of residents, per Reuters, but Sister André is looking forward to larger gatherings in the future. She tells Le Parsien that she's especially excited for walks in the garden and meals with friends. The world's oldest person, Kane Tanaka of Japan, turned 118 on Jan. 2. (She's aiming to make it to 120.)

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