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Eugénie Blanchard

Eugénie Blanchard, known as Sister Cyril Costa, was a French-Saint Barthélemy supercentenarian, who, at the age of 114 years, 261 days, was the oldest living person at the time of her death.


Anne Eugénie Blanchard was born in the Merlet neighborhood of St. Barts on 16 February 1896. She was born only 18 years after the former Swedish island of St. Barts was sold back to France. Blanchard was the last survivor of thirteen brothers and sisters.

Blanchard moved to Curaçao in May 1923, where she became a Catholic nun of the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters of Roosendaal on the island. She adopted the name Sister Cyria during her years with the order but earned the nickname “Sweets” due to her treatment of others, according to Victorin Lurel, the President of the Regional Council of neighboring Guadeloupe. Other reports have indicated that Curaçaoan children called her “Douchy,” which is derived from “Dushi” meaning “sweets” or “candy” in Papiamento, the Creole language of Curaçao, because she worked as a sweet seller.

Blanchard remained with the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters of Roosendaal on Curaçao until August 1955, when she returned to Saint Barthélemy at the age of 60. She resided alone with her cat until she moved to a hospital nursing home in 1980 at the age of 84 due to declining health. Blanchard was described as generally in good health during her later years, despite the loss of her eyesight and her inability to speak. Eugenie Blanchard died in Saint Barth’s on 4 November 2010, at the age of 114 years, 261 days. She was the last surviving nun born in the 19th century.

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Blanchard became the recognized titleholder upon the death of Japanese supercentenarian Kama Chinen on 2 May 2010. At the time of her death, Blanchard was the 31st-oldest person ever validated, the third-oldest validated French person ever, and the oldest verified person ever from the island of Saint Barthelemy (administratively and legally a part of Guadeloupe from 1878 until 2007), which is an overseas collectivity of France. She is currently, behind Jeanne Calment, Lucile Randon, Jeanne Bot, Marie Bremont, and Eudoxie Baboul, the sixth-oldest French person ever.