Sister André celebrates her birthday on February 11. 117 years old! Dean of the French since 2017, she is the second supercentenary in the world: and there is only the Japanese Kane Tanaka who, at 118 years and 30 days, holds the record and can claim the title of dean of the world.
→ READ. A Japanese dean of humanity
In January, Sister André had Covid-19 and didn’t even get it ” figured out “ : this Thursday, she will celebrate her 117th birthday with a festive menu, a mass and a little Port to start. “I’m not sure I got it. I am told that I had it, I was very tired, it is true, but I do not realize it. I didn’t realize. I was left lying down “, she explains to AFPTV.
Surrounded by the affection of her community and the staff of the Sainte-Catherine-Labouré nursing home in Toulon (Var), where she has lived since 2009, Sister André can no longer see, uses a wheelchair: “It’s a test because I am naturally very independent, and there I am deprived of my independence, that does not please me”, she confided to Var Morning last year. Because the nun born February 11, 1904 in Alès (Gard) has all her head, still hears enough to hold a conversation and remembers perfectly this long eventful life.
A century of history
Born Lucile Randon, the European dean and the oldest nun in the world is a true history book: two wars, three republics, ten popes … At the end of the Great War, she became a governess and teacher with children from large families , especially in the Peugeot family. Faith worked her: this girl from the Cévennes, Huguenot, granddaughter of a pastor, was baptized in 1923, at the age of 19. It wasn’t until 1944 – at 40! – that she enter the novitiate of the Daughters of Charity, of Saint Vincent-de-Paul, in Paris. She chose Sister André as her name, in tribute to her older brother worried about seeing her enter religion, for fear of never seeing her again. In particular, she will take care of orphans and the elderly during her religious life at the Vichy hospital. At 75, age is felt. The retirement sounded and Sister André entered an establishment in Savoy where she would spend about thirty years. Before finally arriving in Toulon in 2009, at the age of 105.
Pray for me !
Sister André listens to Vatican Radio and finds the Pope ” very brave “. Francis, last year, sent her a rosary. On the eve of his 117e birthday, she prays every day for other residents, those who are alone and without family, those who are more dependent than her. This life given to others is still going on: “My daily happiness is to still be able to pray”, she confides.
This is what remains for this nun with a strong temperament: “I can’t see any more, I can’t stand on my feet, but what is difficult is to depend on others”, she explained two years ago to the weekly Pilgrim. And the dean continues on her 115-year birthday: “Pray for me, I need it! May the good Lord not be too slow in making me wait any longer. He exaggerates… ” Obviously, God is turning a deaf ear …