This was because the immediate tasks were administrative and structural; in order to effect a full and complete union of these friars from four different religious sources, what had to be effected was the transfer of hermit friars from the countryside into the cities, the commitment to significant building programs, and the provision of education of the candidates of the new Order to enable it to partake in the active life of the church and fight against the heresies of the day.
The foremost task was the union of all the houses which had not sent delegates to the first general chapter and to achieve a full central government, and for that purpose he sent his vicars to the various countries. Nicolaus Crusenius O.S.A. published Monasticon Augustinianum, a lucid history of the Order of St Augustine published in Munich in 1623 that is still highly esteemed.
He is the only author for the statement that Lanfranc immediately sent Italian hermits to the ultramontane establishments (i.e., houses over the Alps from Italy): Guido Salanus and later Andrew of Siena to Germany, Mark Ventonus and after him Peter of Gubbio to France, John Lombardo and Paschasius Dareta to Spain and Albertin of Verona and William of Sengham to England.
This narrative of Crusenius does not seem to be a mere concoction, because some of the statements can be proved by documents; it must have been based upon a source unknown to us. If we accept his account we would have to conclude that none of the ultramontane communities (i.e. houses in other parts of Europe) was represented at the first general chapter and that Lanfranc sent delegates who were ignorant of the language, the usages and customs of these nations.
It is known, however, that Paschasius Dareta and John Lombardo worked in Spain as early as 1243 and there is an early though unconfirmed report that William Sengham had joined the first Augustinians who had been sent by Lanfranc to England in 1252 while all of them were still Gianboniti (Zanbonini).
The uncertain history of the first vicars general as related by Crusenius should, therefore, be replaced by the more probable one, that these men were the representatives of the ultramontane houses at the General Chapter (Grand Union) of 1256, were well acquainted with conditions in their provinces, and probably had founded many of the early houses in these respective countries.
Crusenius also claims that all Italy formed one province but was almost immediately sub-divided into the provinces of Lombardy, Romandiola, March of Ancona, Pisa and Lucca. It is far more probable that the three provinces of the Gianboniti (Zanbonini) - Lombardy, Treviso and Romandiola - were retained as well as the March of Ancona, where the hermits of Brettino prevailed.
The Augustinian Hermits of Tuscany (formed in the Little Union of 1244) were divided into several provinces, though we find the first document of the province of Pisa only in 1259 and a year later one for the province of Siena. The provinces of Rome and Naples were no doubt in existence at the first general chapter, though we have the first indication of their existence only in 1274. France-England, Hungary, Spain and Germany formed the other provinces giving us a total of twelve provinces at the time of the Great Union.
(Continued on the next page.)