– At age 113, Sister André is one of the oldest religious sisters in the world.
According to French newspaper Le Parisien, André is the oldest person in France. She told the newspaper that this “very much surprised me because I never even thought about it.”
André, who is blind, currently resides in the Sainte-Catherine-Labouré retirement home for religious in Toulon, a city in southeast France near the Mediterranean.
She was born Lucille Randon on Feb. 11, 1904 in the town of Alès, about 140 miles northwest of Toulon.
The nun told the French daily La Croix that she grew up in a poor Protestant family. Her paternal grandfather was “a pastor, very strict. The services lasted forever and you had to follow the entire sermon without budging or falling asleep! So my parents no longer practiced their religion. But that troubled me.”
When she was 27, she converted to Catholicism. “I gradually progressed, following my Catholic faith,” she said.
During her youth, she worked as a teacher and governess for various families including the Peugeots, who founded and owned the French car manufacturer.
At age 40, she joined the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul and took the name André in honor of her brother André, whom she said was like a parent to her.
After World War II began, the nun started working in a hospital in the town of Vichy in central France, taking care of the elderly and children.
“Some of them were orphans, some placed there by their parents because they were no longer able to feed them,” she recalled.
André cared for children in that hospital for nearly 30 years, and said that “some of them have looked me up and still come to see me.”
In 2009, the nun moved into the Sainte-Catherine-Labouré retirement home in Toulon.
“I am really fortunate to be here, because I’m very well cared for here,” she said. “That’s very reassuring at my age.
“When my brothers died when I was 70, I thought that it would be my turn soon,” she said. But several decades later, she is still alive, and grateful for all the blessings God has continued to send her.
André told La Croix that she worked until she was 104 years old. What she misses now is that she can no longer “read, write, draw, embroider and knit.” However, she said that she still enjoys experiencing the nice weather.
“The good Lord has guided me well,” she reflected.
This article was originally published by ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.