clearn.png
Thursday December 2nd, 2021 11:21PM

Champagne, red wine and Mass on tap for nun's 117th birthday

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

Question: How do you fit 117 candles onto a birthday cake for the world's second-oldest person? Answer: You can't.

A French nun who is believed to be the world’s second-oldest person was celebrating her 117th birthday in style on Thursday. There were plans for Champagne and red wine, a feast with her favorite dessert, a Mass in her honor, and other treats to toast Sister André's exceptional longevity through two world wars and a recent bout of COVID-19.

“It’s a big day,” David Tavella, the communications manager for the nun's care home in the southern French city of Toulon, told The Associated Press. “She is in great shape. I went to see her this morning. She is really happy. She wanted me to tell her the schedule for the day again.”

It was packed. Some of Sister André’s's great-nephews and great-great nephews were expected to join a morning video call for her, and the bishop of Toulon was due to celebrate a Mass in her honor.

“She was very proud when I told her. She said, ‘A Mass for me?’” Tavella said.

The menu for her birthday feast included a starter of foie gras, followed by capon with fragrant mushrooms and wrapping up with baked Alaska, the nun's favorite dessert.

“All of it washed down with red wine, because she drinks red wine. It's one of her secrets of longevity. And a bit of Champagne with dessert, because 117 years have to be toasted," Tavella said.

As for packing dozens of candles onto a cake, “we stopped trying a long time ago,” he added. "Because even if we made big cakes, I’m not sure that she would have enough breath to blow them all out. You would need a fire extinguisher.”

Sister André’s birth name is Lucile Randon. The Gerontology Research Group, which validates details of people thought to be 110 or older, lists her as the second-oldest known living person in the world, behind only an 118-year-old woman in Japan, Kane Tanaka.

Tavella told French media earlier this week that Sister André tested positive for the coronavirus in mid-January but she had so few symptoms that she didn't even realize she was infected. Her survival made headlines both in France and beyond.

“When the whole world suddenly started talking about this story, I understood that Sister André was a bit like an Olympic flame on a ‘round the world tour that people want to grab hold of, because we all need a bit of hope at the moment," Tavella said.

By strange coincidence, Tavella was celebrating his 43rd birthday on Thursday.

“We often joke that she and I were born on the same day,” he said. "I never tell myself that she is 117 because she is so easy to talk to, regardless of age. It is only when she talks about World War I as though she lived through it that I realize, 'Yes, she did live through it!'”

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Health, AP World News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Champagne, red wine and Mass on tap for nun's 117th birthday
A French nun who is believed to be the world’s second-oldest person is celebrating her 117th birthday in style
6:25AM ( 2 minutes ago )
Women's rights activist charged for role in Polish protests
A leader of the Polish Women’s Strike, the movement that has led mass nationwide protests against a near total abortion ban in Poland, has been charged with criminal felonies
6:24AM ( 3 minutes ago )
'Overwhelm the problem': Inside Biden’s war on COVID-19
President Joe Biden’s team is styling itself on war footing as it attacks the coronavirus pandemic
6:20AM ( 7 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Portugal starts giving firefighters vaccine jabs
Portugal has started inoculating the country’s about 15,000 firefighters against COVID-19
5:27AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Merkel says Germany didn't act quickly enough
Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany didn’t act quickly enough last fall to prevent a second surge in coronavirus infections
4:08AM ( 2 hours ago )
AstraZeneca working to adapt vaccine to new strains
AstraZeneca is working with the University of Oxford to adapt its COVID-19 vaccine to protect against new strains of the virus as public health officials raise concerns about mutations that may make the virus more resistant to existing vaccines
4:04AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Health
EU hopeful for firm economic growth despite virus challenges
The European Commission is cautiously optimistic that European economies will see good growth this year and next despite deep uncertainty about when the coronavirus might be contained
5:12AM ( 1 hour ago )
'We'll be left without families': Fear in Ethiopia's Tigray
Rare witness accounts are illuminating the toll of the shadowy conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region as fighting enters a fourth month
4:56AM ( 1 hour ago )
Ethnic minorities join big crowds protesting Myanmar coup
Groups of Myanmar’s many ethnic minorities have marched behind their regional flags in a large protest that displayed the broad opposition around the country to last week’s military takeover
4:35AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
Women's rights activist charged for role in Polish protests
A leader of the Polish Women’s Strike, the movement that has led mass nationwide protests against a near total abortion ban in Poland, has been charged with criminal felonies
6:24AM ( 3 minutes ago )
'Overwhelm the problem': Inside Biden’s war on COVID-19
President Joe Biden’s team is styling itself on war footing as it attacks the coronavirus pandemic
6:20AM ( 7 minutes ago )
Belarusian leader vows to defeat foreign-backed 'rebellion'
Belarus’ authoritarian leader has denounced six months of protests against his rule as a foreign-directed “rebellion” and vowed to resist the pressure
6:18AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Feeling pressure: 2020 champ Kenin loses at Australian Open
Sofia Kenin’s bid to repeat as champion at the Australian Open ended when she lost in the second round to big-serving Kaia Kanepi 6-3, 6-2
6:13AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Alabama seeks to be 1st state to execute an inmate this year
Alabama is seeking to carry out what would be this year's first execution by a state, putting to death a 51-year-old man convicted of the shotgun slaying of a police detective's sister
6:11AM ( 16 minutes ago )