Sister Emmanuelle, a Franco-Belgian nun known for her work with the poor in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere around the world, died Monday at the age of 99.
A representative from ASMAE, an aid organisation she founded, told AFP that Emmanuelle spoke of being tired but was not suffering from any particular illness. She died in her sleep overnight.
Born Madeleine Cinquin in Brussels on Nov. 16, 1908 to a French father and a Belgian mother, she spent her childhood in Paris, London and Brussels. In 1931 at the age of 22 she took her vows to become a nun at the Notre Dame de Sion congregation, choosing the name Sister Emmanuelle, meaning "God is with us".
In 1980, Emanuelle founded ASMAE, an organisation she described as "secular and apolitical", to provide health and education assistance to poor children and their families. Today, ASMAE is active in nine countries worldwide.
Noted in particular for her work with garbage workers in the slums of Cairo, in 1993 her superiors asked her to leave Egypt to retire in France.
A mass will be given in her memory in Paris. No date has been set as of yet.