Oldest person in the world, French Catholic nun Sister Andre, dies at 118

Sister André Randon Sister André Randon. | Credit: EHPAD Sainte Catherine Labouré

Sister Andre Randon, a French nun and the oldest person in the world, has passed away at the age of 118. 

Randon became the world’s oldest person on April 19, 2022, when Kane Tanaka of Japan died at the age of 119, according to the Gerontology Research Group. 

“There is great sadness but ... it was her desire to join her beloved brother. For her, it’s a liberation,” David Tavella of the Sainte-Catherine-Laboure nursing home said.

Born Lucile Randon on Feb. 11, 1904, in Alés, France, she converted from Protestantism to Catholicism when she was 19. She served young children and the elderly at a French hospital until she became a nun at the age of 40. She joined the Daughters of Charity — founded by St. Vincent de Paul — in 1944. She took the name Sister Andre in honor of her deceased brother. 

Seventy-six years later, Sister Andre moved to Toulon, in southern France, where she resided in the Sainte Catherine Labouré retirement home. It was here that she passed away. 

In 2021 she tested positive for COVID-19. She was isolated from the other residents but displayed no symptoms. 

Asked if she was scared of 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.”

For her 115th birthday in 2019, Sister Andre received a card and a blessed rosary from Pope Francis, which she used every day.

When she turned 116 in 2020, the Vincentian nun shared her “recipe for a happy life” — prayer and a cup of hot cocoa every day.

According to the Gerontology Research Group, the world’s oldest person is now Maria Branyas Morera, age 115, a resident of Spain.

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