The World’s Second-Oldest Person Celebrated Turning 117 With Champagne And Cheese

Kristin Salaky
·2 min read

From Woman's Day

Why does it seem like every "wellness influencer" on Earth wants me to eat nothing but kale and drink nothing but water when it seems like everyone who lives a long and happy life does so while sipping on booze and eating sausages and French fries? I, for one, will be taking my cues from Sister André, Europe's oldest living person who turned 117 last week.

Sister André, a nun, currently resides in a nursing home in Toulon in France and recently became the oldest known person to survive a COVID-19 infection, according to The New York Times. The outbreak in her nursing home sickened 81 people and killed 11. Though she was infected, she is thought to have been largely asymptomatic during that time. Sister André and most of the other nursing home residents were allowed out of isolation last week, just in time for her birthday.

Photo credit: NICOLAS TUCAT - Getty Images
Photo credit: NICOLAS TUCAT - Getty Images

“Sister André didn’t feel the disease, so she wondered a lot why we were talking about the coronavirus every day, why she couldn’t receive visits from us at the nursing home, or from relatives or fellow residents,” David Tavella, the spokesman at the Ste. Catherine Labouré nursing home told the Times.

During her birthday lunch on Thursday she was expected to celebrate with port wine, foie gras with hot figs, as well "roasted capon with mushrooms and sweet potatoes as a main course, followed by a two-cheese platter—Roquefort, and goat cheese—and maybe a few glasses of red wine," the latter of which Tavella told the Associated Press was "one of her secrets of longevity."

As for a birthday cake, Tavella joked that putting candles on top for Sister André, believed to be the second-oldest living person in the world, hasn't always worked out so well: “We stopped trying a long time ago. 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.”

The lunch was expected to be topped off with raspberry and peach flavored Baked Alaska and a glass of Champagne, of course. All of this made her "very, very, very, very happy," as she told the AP.

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