SHARE
COPY LINK

HEALTH

‘A glass of wine a day’: French nun turns 117 after surviving Covid

Europe's oldest person, French nun Sister André, turns 117 on Thursday after surviving Covid-19 last month and living through two world wars, with a special birthday feast including her favourite dessert - Baked Alaska.

'A glass of wine a day': French nun turns 117 after surviving Covid
"Be brave and show compassion," Sister André, 117, urged young people. Photo: AFP

Born Lucile Randon on February 11th, 1904, Sister André said she didn't realise she had caught the coronavirus, which infected 81 residents of her retirement home in the southeast city of Toulon, killing 10 of them.

“I'm told that I got it,” the nun told AFP ahead of her birthday. “I was very tired, it's true, but I didn't realise it.”

But David Tavella, spokesman for the Sainte-Catherine-Laboure nursing home, said she had “experienced a triple confinement: in her wheelchair, in her room and without a visit”.

“So her birthday, it reinvigorates us,” he added, following the deadly outbreak.

Sister André said she was not going to do anything special for her 117th birthday but the home is planning a celebration for her.

There will be a special mass at the home, which has a dozen nuns, and the chef is preparing a birthday feast of foie gras, capon fillet with porcini mushrooms and Sister André's favourite dessert: baked Alaska, washed down with a glass of port.

She says her favourite food is lobster and she enjoys a glass of wine.

“I drink a small glass of wine every day,” she said.

Born in Ales in a Protestant family, she grew up as the only girl among three brothers.

One of her fondest memories was the return of two of her brothers at the end of World War I.

“It was rare, in families, there were usually two dead rather than two alive. They both came back,” she told AFP last year, on her 116th birthday.

She converted to Catholicism and was baptised at the age of 26. She joined the Daughters of Charity order of nuns at the relatively late age of 41.

Sister André was then assigned to a hospital in Vichy, where she worked for 31 years and then spent 30 years in a retirement home in the French Alps before moving to Toulon.

She is the second-oldest living person in the world, according to the Gerontology Research Group, after Japanese woman Kane Tanaka, who is 118.

Asked what she would say to young people, Sister André said: “Be brave and show compassion.”

Member comments

  1. What’s with the French and their Foie Gras?
    Her definition of the word “small” (glass of wine.) And port. And? And? And? Sure! 🙂
    Good for her!

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

HEALTH

French public urged to wear face masks again on public transport

With France in the middle of a new wave of Covid-19, the country's health minister has urged the public to once again wear face masks on public transport and in crowded spaces.

French public urged to wear face masks again on public transport

With cases on the rise again, French Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon said she is “[asking] the French to put masks back on in transport” in an interview with RTL on Monday, 

For the time being, however, she stressed it was just advice, rather than an obligation, and masks have in fact been recommended on public transport since the legal requirement to wear them was lifted in May. 

However with France reporting over 50,000 daily cases of Covid-19 the government is clearly concerned by the current wave of the pandemic.

Bourguignon said that “we must protect ourselves and protect others,” adding that wearing a mask is “a civic gesture.”

She urged people to don their masks as soon as they see a crowded train or station.

READ MORE: Return of the health pass? How France plans to tackle new wave of Covid cases

In addition to public transport, Bourguignon is also asking the French to once again mask-up in “all crowded, enclosed areas.”

Currently, masks are only required in hospitals, health centres and places that have vulnerable residents such as nursing homes. They are recommended in crowded spaces where it is impossible to practice social distancing.

SHOW COMMENTS