As an Italian, Giles understood the situation of the Order in Italy better than he understood it elsewhere.
The thirteen Augustinian Provinces outside of Italy were: four in France, four in Germanic territory (including Poland and the Low Countries), two in Spain, and one apiece in England, Portugal and Hungary.
Another problem with implementing reform from Rome in the thirteen provinces outside of Italy was that their nascent nationalism tended to make them resistant of intervention from the Prior General in Rome.
Even so, from the acts of the General Curia in the time of Giles, it is evident that he made as many decisions about the non-Italian provinces as for the Italian ones.
Giles of Viterbo O.S.A. had obligations towards any Augustinian house of study that was under the ultimate direction of the Prior General. Such a house was called a studium generale.
Giles appreciated that the adequate education of the next generation of Augustinians was vital to the success of any reform, and he tacked this challenge enthusiastically.
At that time, such houses existed in Italy and other nations, but in previous years the Prior General had through inattention or the paucity of communications effectively lost the exercise of his rights in many of these houses of study outside of Italy.
This was the case at Cologne and Erfurt (where Martin Luther lived and taught) in Germany, Toulouse and Cahors in France, Gran in Hungary, Alcala and Salamanca in Spain.
Giles was not slow, however, to insist on high standards for teaching and for student entrance in the Italian centres, which were at Perugia, Bologna, Naples, Siena, Florence, Milan, Padua, Genoa, Rome (at Convento Sant’Agostino) and Venice.
He expelled students who were unwilling to study, and saw that these houses trained men for the responsibility of reform.
For any studium generale outside of Italy, Giles attempted as much reform as was possible to him in each case.
His greatest disappointment was the first of all such houses to be established, i.e., that of Paris. His complaint was both that its standards were low, and that effectively it had lost its international composition and become exclusively French.
(Continued on the next page.)
Photos (at right):
A camp encounter for young adults of the Parish of Saint Augustine, Buenos Aires, Argentina.