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France: The Oldest Nun in the World

November 13, 2017
Lucile Randon, in religion, Sister André.

As of this summer, Sister André is the oldest nun in the world. On October 20, 2017, when Honorine Rondello died in her 114th year, she also became the eldest French person, at 113 years. Born on February 11, 1904, to a Protestant family of Alès in the department of Le Gard, Lucile Randon converted to Catholicism and was baptized at age 19, in 1923.

After spending over 20 years as a governess and primary school teacher, in particular with the Peugot family of Versailles, she entered the congregation of the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul in 1944, aged 40. “I travelled little by little, following my path as a Catholic,” she told daily La Croix on October 25, 2017. She took the name of Sister André in honor of her older brother  who was “like a father and a mother” to her.

Stationed at the hospital of Vichy, she served orphans and the elderly there for 28 years. She remembered experiencing “much joy” with the young boarders. “Some of them found out where I am and still come to see me.”

Nearly blind and confined to a wheelchair, she has been living since 2009 in a retirement home in Toulon, in the department of the Var. She tells how, “when my brothers died at 70,” she thought, “soon it will be my turn.” She concludes, “The good God guided me indeed.”

Another woman, Tava Colo, could claim to be even older. Born in Mayotte in 1902, she is 115. But this age is not formally proven since the French colony did not register births at the time.