A French nun named Sister André is truly living her best, longest life, having beaten COVID-19 and now, turning 117 years old. She is the oldest known person in Europe (the second oldest in the world) and clearly also one of its coolest, having now lived through two global pandemics, not to mention a couple world wars. The New York Times spoke with David Tavella, spokesman for Ste. Catherine Labouré nursing home in Toulon, the French city where Sister André lives. 81 of the 88 residents of her nursing home were infected with COVID-19 during an outbreak and 11 passed away, but Sister André recovered — the oldest person to have done so.
She has so far declined to take the vaccine because she is “not afraid of dying …so give my doses to someone who needs them,” she said, according to Tavella.
Thursday is her birthday and Sister André is celebrating in a style that’s honestly just life goals. She plans to enjoy port wine as a starter, then foie gras with hot figs and roasted capon with mushrooms and sweet potatoes for her main course, followed by a cheese plate (Rochefort and goat cheese, apparently), a “few glasses of red wine” and then a dessert of raspberry and peach flavored Baked Alaska and a glass of Champagne. Incredible. Awe-inspiring. Très délicieux.
Like many countries, France has struggled with an effective vaccine rollout as infection numbers rise. Sister André had a relatively mild case of COVID and missed being able to see her friends and family. Fortunately, for her birthday, she’ll not only get to chat with her family in a virtual birthday party, she’s also getting a call from the mayor and even her local bishop. Happy birthday, Sister André!