PARIS (NewsNation Now) — A 116-year-old French nun who is believed to be the world’s second-oldest person has survived COVID-19 and is looking forward to celebrating her 117th birthday on Thursday.
The Gerontology Research Group, which validates details of people thought to be 110 or older, lists Frenchwoman Lucile Randon — Sister André’s birth name – as the second-oldest known living person in the world.
French media report that Sister André tested positive for the virus in mid-January in the southern French city of Toulon. But just three weeks later, the nun is considered recovered.
She was isolated from other residents, but displayed no symptoms.
Sister André, who is blind and uses a wheelchair, did not even worry when she received her diagnosis.
“She didn’t ask me about her health, but about her habits,” David Tavella, the communications manager for the care home where the nun lives, told French newspaper Var-Matin. “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.”
Asked if she was scared to have COVID, Sister Andre told France’s BFM television, “No, I wasn’t scared because I wasn’t scared to die… 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.”
Not all of the home’s residents shared Sister André’s luck. In January, 81 of the 88 residents tested positive for the virus, and about 10 of them died, according to Var-Matin.
Once doctors declared the nun no longer infected, she was allowed to attend Mass.
She took the name of Sister Andre when she joined a Catholic charitable order in 1944. She was born on Feb. 11, 1904. The oldest person is Japan’s Kane Tanaka, who turned 118 on Jan. 2.
The world’s 20 oldest people in the GRG list are all female.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.