After death of Japanese woman, this French nun is world's oldest person
Sister Andre, was born in southern France on February 11, 1904, even before World War I. She lives a happy life at a nursing home in Toulon along the Mediterranean coast.
French nun Sister Andre, at 118, is now the oldest known person in the world, as claimed, following the death of a Japanese woman one year her senior. Japan's Kane Tanaka, deemed the world's oldest by the International Database on Longevity (IDL) and Guinness World Records, died aged 119 on Monday.
"Sister Andre indeed becomes the oldest, and by far, since the next oldest is a Polish woman who is 115," said Laurent Toussaint, a computer scientist and amateur tracker for the IDL as well as the French institute of demographic studies (INED).
Lucile Randon, better known as Sister Andre, was born in southern France on February 11, 1904, even before World War I, which was still a decade away. Sister Andre lives a happy life at a nursing home in Toulon along the Mediterranean coast.
"She's happy, she likes very much this attention," said the home's communications director David Tavella, adding that a short press conference would be held Tuesday morning.
She begins every day with breakfast and then a morning mass, though her eyes can no longer see.
"But it's just another step, because her real goal is to overtake Jeanne Calment," a French woman who was reportedly 122-years-old when she died in 1997, Tavella said.
According to reports, Sister Andre got a handwritten New Year's greeting from President Emmanuel Macron this year, among the many letters and boxes of chocolates sent by well-wishers.
"I was always admired for my wisdom and intelligence, but now people could care less because I'm stubborn," she jokingly told an AFP in an interview for her 118th tour around the sun.
"I thinking of getting out of this business but they won't let me," she said.
Lucile Randon previously worked as a governess in Paris -- a period she once noted as the happiest time of her life -- before taking her religious vows with the Daughters of Charity.
Who was Kane Tanaka?
Born on January 2, 1903, Tanaka loved playing the board game Othello and had a penchant for chocolate and fizzy drinks. She was certified by Guinness World Records as the oldest living person in 2019 when she was 116. In media occasions, she said she was still enjoying life and hoped to live until 120.
Remarkably, most centenarians are found in the world's so-called blue zones, where people live longer than average, such as Okinawa in Japan or on the Italian island of Sardinia.
But France, while not considered a blue zone, nonetheless has 30,000 centenarians, according to statistics institute Insee, with around 40 of them 110 or older.
(With inputs from AFP, AP)