Read Our Core Values

St. Anthony's History

From founding sisters to today's staff, St. Anthony's people
are the foundation on which 80 years of care has been built.

Beginning with the Benedictine Sisters who founded the only hospital in Conway County in 1925 to today's staff of caring medical professionals, people are at the center of St. Anthony's Medical Center's mission and service to Morrilton and the surrounding communities.

"Our people are what make St. Anthony's great," says Christy Hockaday, administrator and CEO of the Morrilton facility. "We have an outstanding team of dedicated medical professionals committed to our ministry of healing, and it is the spirit of compassionate care set forth by our founding sisters that guides the health care we provide our patients today."

A focus on the people of St. Anthony's is one of four core strategies set forth by Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a national network of hospitals that includes St. Anthony's and its parent organization, St. Vincent Health System. The other CHI strategies address quality, growth and performance. With its focus on people, CHI expects its network hospitals to:

  • Attract and retain exceptional health care professionals to ensure adequate staffing and a competent and loyal workforce;
  • Partner with physicians to create and execute better care delivery and outcomes;
  • Make the most efficient and effective use of physician and staff resources; and
  • Select and retain leaders who exemplify the hospital's values and reflect the diversity of the community.

Is St. Anthony's Medical Center up to CHI's challenge? Absolutely, says Hockaday. "Since St. Anthony's beginning as a small hospital founded and staffed by the sisters of St. Scholastica, we've put our people at the heart of everything we are and everything we do," she says. "Personally, I am privileged to work with such a talented and committed group of professionals, and I've heard over and over again from our patients in the community about how much they appreciate the kindness and expertise of our health care staff."

In fact, local community leaders Charles Penick, former Sheriff Mark Flowers and Brother Joseph Freyaldenhoven say that because of the physicians and medical staff at St. Anthony's Medical Center, they are alive today after suffering from heart attacks and being treated there.

Expanding Medical Expertise
The St. Anthony's team is growing the medical staff so the hospital can continue to provide the highest-quality care to Morrilton and Conway, Perry, Pope, Van Buren and Faulkner counties.

In the past three years, St. Anthony's has attracted many physicians to the community. "Our team is really focused on supporting our physicians and our community members' needs," Hockaday explains.

Building Employee Morale
Data show that St. Anthony's focus on people is a worthwhile pursuit. Internal surveys reflect a significant improvement in employee and physician satisfaction in the last year, and for four quarters in a row, St. Anthony's had the highest patient satisfaction scores of any hospital in the St. Vincent system.

"We believe in working hard and celebrating achievement. Everyone thrives and performs better in a positive environment where dedication and talent are praised," says Hockaday. "This staff, top to bottom, is committed daily to providing quality health care to this community, and we truly believe it is our responsibility to say 'thank you' as often as possible."

Living Its History
St. Anthony's focus on its people is deeply rooted in the hospital's history. The hospital was founded in 1925 by the Benedictine sisters from the St. Scholastica Convent in Fort Smith. The Benedictine order is dedicated to a mission of mercy and embraces a spirit of hospitality, caring, sharing and prayer. They purchased the colonial-style Burrow home on Green Street for the sum of $12,500 and established a 14-bed hospital facility they named for St. Anthony of Padua.

St. Anthony is known today as the patron saint of lost items, but in his time, he was an inspiring preacher. His messages of faith were focused on Christian benevolence to the poor, the oppressed and the most in need of charity and justice. He died in 1231 at age 36.

At the time of St. Anthony's founding, the Fort Smith Benedictine order was focused on health care ministry. The sisters operated five hospitals, one in Missouri and four in Arkansas, including St. Anthony's. Since then, the order has withdrawn from the operation of all of these facilities.

"The spirit of the Benedictine order is almost palpable in the halls at St. Anthony's," says Hockaday. "The hospitality and caring shown by the order is evident in each and every St. Anthony's employee. It is that ministry of healing that inspires us every day to treat those in need. Our work here is truly a mission, and that mission began 80 years ago with the sisters and four physicians who worked in a renovated home on Green Street."


St. Anthony's Core Values


  • Create a workplace that fosters community and respects the inherent dignity of every person.
  • Create a workplace that promotes employee participation and ensures safety and well-being.


  • Exercise good faith and honesty in all dealings and transactions.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest and/or the appearance of conflicts of interest.
  • Provide accurate and truthful information in all transactions.


  • Exercise responsible stewardship of both human and financial resources.
  • Maintain and protect the confidentiality of patient, employee and organizational information.


  • Maintain a high level of knowledge and skill among all who serve in order to provide high quality of care.

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