Not many live beyond a hundred years, and Carmena Vella was so excited that she woke up at 2am, grateful to have made it to her 102nd yesterday.

The first thing that the woman from Qala, Gozo, did when she woke up was thank God for her longevity, just a few hours before fellow Gozitans from neighbouring villages headed over to celebrate the centenarian’s birthday.

Ms Vella told the Times of Malta on her 100th birthday that the formula for peaceful longevity is to mind your own business, be content with what you have and pray for everyone.

And to make it beyond that?

“God’s grace… I also had something else that kept me going: my family,” the mother-of-nine, grandmother of 24, great-grandmother of 35 and great-great-grandmother of one said yesterday.

Caring for her relatives and taking an interest in family affairs ensures that she always has something to look forward to, she said.

WATCH: 'Mind your own business': the secret to making it to 100

The 102-year-old is known for the rosary beads that she carries everywhere, and they were the first thing she reached for when she woke up yesterday at 2am.

She even makes sure that whatever she is wearing has a side pocket in which she can keep the beads.

Ms Vella has lived through two world wars and also saw Malta gain independence. War taught her many lessons, mainly to appreciate what she has.

She lost her sight due to a medical condition some 40 years ago, but remains “sharp”, and her family still seek her advice, some relatives told Times of Malta.

Carmena Vella (centre) on her way to church with relatives yesterday.Carmena Vella (centre) on her way to church with relatives yesterday.

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