Sister Anne is 'second to nun'

A SPECIAL mass has been held to celebrate the 100th birthday of Portsmouth's oldest nun.

Bishop Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth led the tributes to Belgium-born Sister Anne of the congregation of Catholic nuns, Helpers of the Holy Souls, as she reached the milestone.

The bishop told the congregation gathered in St John's Catholic Cathedral, Edinburgh Road: 'The Catholic Church is greatly indebted to Sister Anne for her dedication and achievement.'

Also among the congregation was the Belgian ambassador's wife, who presented Sister Anne with a signed photograph of King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium.

The centenarian's older brother, Leon de Sousberghe, who is 101, is a Jesuit priest, but was unable to make it to the celebrations, as he is in Belgium looking after other retired priests.

Sister Anne, born on November 7, 1904, said: 'Before I became a nun I had lots of boyfriends, and I remember one who I think I would have married, but I had to do what I felt God was calling me to do.'

Talking about how she has lived for so long, she said: 'I keep in high spirits and have a good sense of humour.'