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Europe’s oldest person, French nun Sister Andre, turns 117 on Thursday after surviving COVID-19 last month and living through two world wars, with a special birthday feast including her favourite dessert, Baked Alaska.

The Gerontology Research Group, which validates details of individuals believed to be 110 or older, lists Frenchwoman Lucile Randon – the birth name of Sister André – as the world’s second-oldest known living individual

French media reported that Sister André tested positive for the virus in mid-January in the southern French city of Toulon.

Sister Andre
Sister Andre on a wheelchair

Sister Andre said she didn’t realise she had caught the coronavirus, which infected 81 residents of her retirement home in the southeast city of Toulon, killing 10 of them

“I’m told that I got it,” the nun told AFP ahead of her birthday. “I was very tired, it’s true, but I didn’t realise it.”

Sister André, who is blind and uses a wheelchair, did not even worry when she received her diagnosis.