Saint Anthony was born Fernando Martins in Lisbon, Portugal. He was born into a wealthy family and by the age of fifteen asked to be sent to the Abbey of Santa Cruz in Coimbra, the then capital of Portugal. During his time in the Abbey, he learned theology and Latin. Following his ordination to the priesthood, he was named guestmaster and was responsible for the abbey's hospitality. When Franciscan friars settled a small hermitage outside Coimbra dedicated to Saint Anthony of Egypt, Fernando felt a longing to join them. Fernando eventually received permission to leave the Abbey so he could join the new Franciscan Order. When he was admitted, he changed his name to Anthony.
One day, at a meeting between visiting Dominican friars and the Francisan friars, Anthony was asked to deliver a homily. Though he tried to object, Anthony delivered an eloquent and moving homily that impressed both groups. Soon, news of his eloquence reached Francis of Assisi, who held a strong distrust of the brotherhood's commitment to a life of poverty. However, in Anthony, he found a friend.
So simple and resounding was his teaching of the Catholic Faith, most unlettered and the innocent could understand his messages. It is for this reason he was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII in 1946.
St. Anthony was chosen as the patron Saint of two of our Edmonton homes: one in the Children, Family and Community Services ministry and by McDaniel Manor in the Community Outreach and Disability Services ministry . St. Anthony was chosen by McDaniel because of his dedication to helping the poor and oppressed, including elderly people.