sister andre split image

Guinness World Records can confirm that Sister André (France, b. 11 February 1904 as Lucile Randon) is now officially the oldest person alive at 118 years 73 days old. 

Following the sad news that Kane Tanaka (Japan) had passed away, she has become the record holder for the oldest person living (female) and the overall oldest person living.

Lucile, who took the name of Sister André in 1944, is the second-oldest French person and the second-oldest European person ever recorded.

Sister André poses in her retirement home on 10 February 2021, one day before turning 117 years old

Sister André has lived a full life and in her younger years worked as a teacher, a governess and looked after children during World War II.

After the war, she spent 28 years working with orphans and elderly people at a hospital in Vichy, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region before becoming a Catholic nun. 

Spending most of her life dedicated to religious service, Sister André also holds the record for the oldest nun living

In 2019 she was made an honorary citizen of the city in which she resides, Toulon, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region, France, and received a letter from Pope Francis.

sister andre looking up

More recently, Sister André received yet another startling record for the oldest COVID-19 survivor

After already living through the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918, she tested positive for coronavirus on 16 January 2021, and was quickly isolated in her retirement home to stop the virus spreading. 

Defying the odds, she shook off the virus after three weeks with no symptoms or side effects other than a little tiredness, in time to celebrate her 117th birthday. 

Sister André has lived in her retirement home for the last 12 years.

Now 118, she is now partially deaf and uses a wheelchair, but likes to keep her mind active. 

sister andre in wheelchair

"They get me up at 7 a.m., they give me my breakfast, then they put me at my desk where I stay busy with little things."

She indulges now and again in sweets, especially chocolate which is her "guilty pleasure", and has a glass of wine everyday. 

"Her glass of wine maintains her and which is perhaps her longevity secret. I don't know - I don't encourage people to drink a glass of wine everyday!" said a staff member from Sister André's care home. 

Coincidently, the oldest person ever, Jeanne Louise Calment, was also French, and also thought that chocolate and port were her secrets to a long life

Jeanne, who was born on 21 February 1875, lived to be 122 years 164 days old.

How do we validate the oldest people?

Guinness World Records works with lead consultant for gerontology, Robert D Young (USA), in the study of aging. Young has been the Director of the Supercentenarian Research Database Division for the Gerontology Research Group since 2015.