Blessed Anton Martin Slomshek was born on November 26, 1800, in Ponikva, Slovenia. He was a great educator and is largely responsible for the nearly 100% literacy rate among Slovenians. In the late 18th and early 19th century, the Slovenian education system had been nearly destroyed by the Austrian empire, which suppressed the native language and culture. Slovenia was left without its own schools, magazines, newspapers, and books.
As bishop, Anton reformed Slovenia’s schools, rebuilding the education system with a Catholic and Slovene foundation. He wrote textbooks, began weekly reviews, and published books and essays on a variety of topics.
Anton founded a society for the spread of Catholic literature. This organization played a significant role in rejuvenating the Catholic cultural base of the nation.
He was known as a simple, humble man, with a childlike purity, and was beloved by his priests and parishioners.
Blessed Anton died on September 24, 1862, in Maribor, Slovenia. He was beatified in 1999 by Pope John Paul II and is the first Slovenian to be proclaimed a blessed.