Antonino Fernández left a total of £169 million to the villagers of Cerezales del Condado
Beer businessman and Catholic philanthropist Antonino Fernández has left £2 million to every person in the Spanish village he grew up in.
Antonino Fernández, who died in August aged 98, left £169 million to the 80 residents of the village of Cerezales del Condado in the province of Leon, northwest Spain.
Fernández was one of 13 children and was born into poverty, forcing him to leave school aged 14 in order to work to raise money for his family.
When he was 32 years old he moved to Mexico and worked for Grupo Modelo in a warehouse and eventually became CEO. It was thanks to him that Corona beer became a world-renowned brand, according to the Telegraph.
Among his many charitable projects Fernández bought the land of Magdala in northern Israel near the sea of Galilee, where St Mary of Magdala was raised.
Since he purchased the site in 2005, archeological excavations have begun under the leadership of Fr Juan Solana, director of the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem, leading to the discovery of a synagogue and the home where St Mary of Magdala was born.
A church shaped like a boat has also been built on the site and is dedicated to women of the Church.
The tabernacle of the “Duc in Altum” Church was blessed by Pope Francis during is trip to the Holy Land in May 2014.
According to the Sed Valientes Catholic blog, a narrow escape during the Spanish Civil War led Fernández to believe that “God wanted something from him”. His cloak was riddled with 32 bullet holes but he had survived. For Fernández that something, the blog said, was to fund the Magdala project.
Fernández was also awarded the Orden de Isabel la Católica (The Order of Isabella the Catholic), an honour bestowed on him by Spain’s King Juan Carlos I.
by Madeleine Teahan