France: Sister André, the Oldest Religious Sister in the World

May 06, 2022

On February 11, 2022, Sister André celebrated her 118th birthday. Born in 1904 in Alès, in the Gard department, she is now in a retirement home in Toulon. Now blind and in a wheelchair, Sister André remains very alert in spirit. The French nun has been the oldest ecclesiastical personality for several years.

Born Lucile Randon into a non-practicing Protestant family, she remains the only girl among her three brothers, her twin sister having died at 18 months. Lucile decided to receive Catholic baptism.

“At 20, I hesitated. I had only been to catechism for a few months, but I knew there was a God and I wanted to find Him. I searched, until the day I said to myself: ‘You must enter this [Catholic] religion. This is what you want.’ The good Lord guided me. My big brother, André, was the only baptized child. He cried – a 30-year-old boy! – ‘You are leaving us!’ On the contrary, I am clinging to you to hold on,” she replies. She was baptized at age 26.

A governess until the age of 40, it was in 1944 that she joined the Daughters of Charity and took the name of her beloved brother: Sister André. “I was a governess-teacher in Paris, and I was very well off. I wanted to go further, and become a Daughter of Charity, ”she says.

After the Second World War, she worked in an institute in Vichy taking in orphans and the elderly, then in a hospital in Drôme. On retirement in 1979, she entered an establishment in Savoy, before arriving in 2009 in the Toulon retirement home where she lives with about fifteen other elderly nuns. “I am religious because the good Lord wanted me,” she confides in a video given to Le Figaro.

Sister André continues to lead a life of prayer, reciting her Rosary every day. And she prays “for everyone and especially for the unfortunate, I like to pamper people and in prayer, we find resources.” She also asks God to come get her, because she is not afraid of death: “I wish it, the good Lord will take into account the efforts I have made to serve him!”

Since the death of Kane Tanaka, a Japanese woman recognized as the doyenne of humanity, who died at the age of 119 on April 25, 2022, Sister André has become the oldest of the inhabitants of our planet.