A woman who survived two world wars, the Spanish flu, and the latest pandemic is celebrating her birthday by attending mass.
Sister André, also known as Lucile Randon, is celebrating her birthday at her Sainte-Catherine Labouré nursing home in Toulon, France.
“I understood that Sister André was a bit like an Olympic flame on a ’round the world tour that people want to grab hold of because we all need a bit of hope at the moment,” David Tavella, spokesman for the Sainte Catherine Labouré retirement home tells the Associated Press.
Coincidentally, Tavella and Sister André share a birthday, 74 years apart.
"I never tell myself that she is 117 because she is so easy to talk to, regardless of age. It is only when she talks about World War I as though she lived through it that I realize, ‘yes, she did live through it!’”
Born to a protestant family on February 11, 1904, Sister André was a twin. At 27, she converted to Catholicism, and at age 40 became a nun. At that time, she took the name Sister André in honour of her brother, who was seriously injured during the first World War.
To celebrate her birthday, Sister André is having a mass in her honour. Var-Martine, a French news agency, says her lavish lunch will be shared between the home's 78 residents.
Sister André's celebrations are made possible after she recently recovered from COVID-19.
When she turned 115, Pope Francis gave the nun card and a blessed rosary, which the Catholic News Agency says she uses every day. In 2016 the nun told the agency her “recipe for a happy life” is her daily prayers and a cup of hot chocolate.
Sister André has a documentary filmed about her life, set to be shared during a film festival in Saint Petersburg.