COVID-defying nun toasts 117th birthday with wine and prayer

COVID-defying nun toasts 117th birthday with wine and prayer

A French nun who is believed to be the world’s second-oldest person was celebrating her 117th birthday in style on Thursday.

This photo provided by the Sainte-Catherine Laboure care home communications manager shows Lucile Randon, Sister Andre's birth name, in Toulon, southern France, on Feb. 10, 2021. A 116-year-old French nun who is believed to be the world’s second-oldest person has survived COVID-19. French media reported that Sister André tested positive for the coronavirus in mid-January in France’s southern city of Toulon. (Sainte-Catherine Laboure care home/ David Tavella via AP)This photo provided by the Sainte-Catherine Laboure care home communications manager shows Lucile Randon, Sister Andre’s birth name, in Toulon, southern France, on Feb. 10, 2021. A 116-year-old French nun who is believed to be the world’s second-oldest person has survived COVID-19. French media reported that Sister André tested positive for the coronavirus in mid-January in France’s southern city of Toulon. (Sainte-Catherine Laboure care home/ David Tavella via AP)February 11, 2021By John LeicesterShareTweetShareRedditFlipEmail

(AP) — Question: How does one cram enough candles onto a birthday cake for one of the world’s oldest survivors of COVID-19? Answer: With 117 candles, you can’t.

A French nun who is believed to be the world’s second-oldest person was celebrating her 117th birthday in style on Thursday (Feb. 11). There were plans for Champagne and red wine, a feast with her favorite dessert, a Mass in her honor and other treats to toast Sister André’s exceptional longevity through two world wars and a recent coronavirus infection.

“It’s a big day,” David Tavella, the communications manager for the nun’s care home in the southern French city of Toulon, told The Associated Press. “She is in great shape. I went to see her this morning. She is really happy. She wanted me to tell her the schedule for the day again.”

It was packed. Some of Sister André’s great-nephews and great-great-nephews were expected to join a morning video call for her, and the bishop of Toulon was due to celebrate a Mass in her honor.

“She was very proud when I told her. She said, ‘A Mass for me?’” Tavella said.

The menu for her birthday feast included a starter of foie gras, followed by capon with fragrant mushrooms and wrapping up with baked Alaska, the nun’s favorite dessert.

“All of it washed down with red wine, because she drinks red wine. It’s one of her secrets of longevity. And a bit of Champagne with dessert, because 117 years have to be toasted,” Tavella said.

In this image made from BFM TV video, Sister Andre, born Lucile Randon, is interviewed by David Tavella, Communications Manager for the Sainte Catherine Laboure Nursing Home in Toulon, France, Tuesday Feb. 9, 2021. The nun is the second-oldest known living person in the world, according to the Gerontology Research Group, which validates details of people believed to be aged 110 or older. French media report that the nun tested positive for COVID-19 virus in mid-January but just three weeks later she is fit as a fiddle — albeit it in her regular wheelchair. (BFM TV via AP)
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