1210 - 1220 In Saint Vincent and in Coimbra

Ferdinand’s pious intentions brought him into more and more conflict with his family. They wanted him to be successful according to the standards of the world. They wanted him to further the good fortunes of his family. Ferdinand only wanted to respond to the call of the Lord.

When he was fifteen, after much prayer and reflection, he left his rich home and went to live in the Augustinian Abbey of St. Vincent on the outskirts of Lisbon. The Canons Regular of St. Augustine, the religious order which he joined, have always been famous for their dedication to scholarly pursuits. It is to the Augustinians that the Saint is indebted for his intellectual formation, which made him one of the most learned clerics in Europe at the beginning of the thirteenth century.

Ferdinand thought that he would find the Godly peace which he sought by fleeing the world and joining a religious order. Unfortunately, St. Vincent was too near to his home. Friends and relatives were always visiting him, bringing him gifts which embarrassed him and news of what was happening in their social world which disturbed him. He simply could not find any peace there, and his studies were suffering. Finally, Ferdinand begged his superiors for a transfer to another abbey, and they sent him to the Augustinian Abbey of the Holy Cross in Coimbra (which at that time was the capital of Portugal). There he continued his studies and was ordained to the priesthood when he was 25 years old.