Our story begins in 1807 when Daniel Delany, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Ireland, invited six women to form a religious community in Tullow, Co Carlow on the first of February. He named them the Sisters of St Brigid, after the great 5th century Saint of Kildare. A year later, 1808, he also founded a community of men and named them the Brothers of St Patrick or Patricians.
The Brigidine Sisters founded St Anthony’s School in 1906. The Sisters focused on spirituality, education, and social & ecological justice. The Sisters’ motto: “Strength and Gentleness” (Fortiter et Suaviter), was the motto of the Founder, Daniel Delany. The motto sets before us the virtues of strength and gentleness, so characteristic of Brigid of Kildare. This is therefore the grace of the Holy Spirit blessed upon our school and all our members. A graphical interpretation of Brigid’s Cross is included in our school crest.
In 1906, a courageous group of Brigidine nuns arrived in Pahiatua to open a school for Catholic children in the district. A group of 54 children began their classes in the old Anglican Church on the corner of Edward and Sedcole Street, with three sisters in charge. It was not for another 12 years when in 1918, Saint Anthony's School in Tyndall Street was opened.
In 1955 part of the school was destroyed by a fire however, not to be daunted, the interior was remodelled and the school continued to accept pupils with its roll peaking in 1971 at 177. The steadily increasing roll necessitated the construction of a new school in Wakeman Street in 1956, known for many years as Our Lady of Lourdes School.
While the senior students remained at Saint Anthony's in Tyndall Street, the junior children were transferred to the new school in Wakeman Street. It was not until 1987 that the entire school was reconstituted on the Wakeman Street site and the school was officially named Saint Anthony's.
The Brigidine Sisters had a presence on the staff continuously from 1906 until 1985 and provided the school with Catholic leadership right up until 1972 when the first lay principal was appointed. In 1982 the school was integrated into the State School system which necessitated a fairly large upgrade in buildings and facilities.
The interior of the school has been significantly enhanced since 2010, providing wonderful learning spaces for it's students.