Sister André (France, born Feb.11, 1904 as Lucile Randon) is now officially the oldest person alive at 118 years, 73 days old.
And she credits chocolate as part of the secret to her long life.
Following the 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, according to the Guinness World Records.
Randon, who took the name of Sister André in 1944, is the third-oldest French person and the third-oldest European person ever recorded.
So what's her secret? 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 chocolate and port were her secrets to a long life. Calment, who was born on Feb. 12, 1875, lived to be 122 years 164 days old.
While it’s understandable that Randon refers to chocolate as her “guilty pleasure,” it’s probably not accurate at this point. At 118 years old, it’s pretty clear that chocolate wasn’t anything she needed to feel guilty about consuming.
Especially since she is also the oldest person to survive COVID-19.
After already living through the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918, she tested positive for coronavirus on Jan. 16, 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.
Who’s to say the chocolates and wine she enjoys didn't help her endure that in one way or another? Maybe there's a physiological reason, or perhaps it's just a mood lifter.
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 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.
"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."
And then, of course, a little chocolate and wine after that. May we all be so lucky to reach old age as Sister André has.