In 1447 he sent to Lecceto a man named Anselmo de Montefalco, who became Prior General in 1486. Mariano de Genazzano, who joined Lecceto in 1482, became Prior General in 1497.
A Frenchman, Arnaud of Toulouse O.S.A. made his profession at Lecceto on 11th July 1494.Previously he had been a student of canon law at Toulouse University and joined the Order at Agen. He was recommended to the community at Lecceto by the Prior General, Anselmo da Montefalco O.S.A. and Arnaud did a second novitiate before being professed for the Lecceto monastery.
Arnaud died there in 1507, and was buried in the cloister, a sign of the esteem in which the community held him. He was followed to Lecceto in 1502 by another Frenchman, Nicolay of Metz O.S.A. Like Arnaud he was already a professed Augustinian when he set out for Lecceto in search of a genuine eremitical life within the Order.
He, too, did a second novitiate before making his profession as a conventual of Lecceto on 30th April 1503 He led a most holy life there until his death in 1527.
In 1459 Pope Pius II visited Lecceto on his way to the Diet at Mantua. He stayed there a second time from 28th June to 1st July 1460.
Giles of Viterbo O.S.A.,
probably the greatest preacher in Europe for part of his lifetime, and one of the greatest influences on the reform of the Order of Saint Augustine on the eve of the Protestant Reformation
, joined the Lecceto community in 1503.
This was fifteen years before Martin Luther
posted his famous and fateful ninety five theses in Wittenberg, Germany.
The enthusiasm of Giles for Lecceto was unbounded. During the four short years between 1503 and 1506 when he was not yet burdened by high office or with the task of being an emissary of the Pope, he found that Lecceto was a place of peace and study which could lead him to a closer union with God.
Still in existence are words of praise about Lecceto that he wrote to the community at Lecceto.
He wrote that, when he had first walked among the ilex trees for which Lecceto is famous, he had cried out the words of Jacob in the Bible, "Truly this place is holy, and is none other than the house of God and the gate of heaven."
The sojourn of Giles at Lecceto ended unexpectedly three years later. While he was praying in its garden with other members of the Augustinian community of Lecceto on 27th June 1506, a messenger arrived from the Pope.
Giles was summoned immediately to Rome to be Vicar General of the Order of Saint Augustine.
(Continued on the next page)
Photos (at right).
Picture 1: A fresco in the Augustinian hermitage of Lecceto.
Picture 2: A nun explains the fresco, Lecceto.
Picture 3: Augustinian contemplative nuns at Lecceto.
To view the photo gallery of Lecceto on Augnet select Italy: Lecceto after you after you click here.