It would be interesting to know the immediate causes, discussions and difficulties connected with the Little Union of 1244.
Pope Innocent IV shed little light upon his reasons for directing the Little Union by his statement: “We did not want you to be any longer like erring sheep without shepherds, which roam behind the tracks made by the flock,” but only seems to have indicated their former lack of organization.
Whether the above sentence conveyed a great deal more is now unknown, but the assembled hermits knew and obeyed, although some of them agreed to the union only under special conditions.
Thus Aldobrandinus, prior of the hermitage St Matthew's in Lepori (Florence), became affiliated under the condition that he should remain superior of his foundation for life and receive a regular income, a condition which led to problems after the Grand Union of 1256, when the newly-constituted Order of St Augustine accepted absolute poverty.
Dissatisfaction with the new superiors arose in the hermitage St Mary's of Lupocavo, and in 1248 received papal permission that for the time being it could not be forced to the “reception, visitation and financial control of the priors and visitors of the Tuscan Congregation of the Order of St Augustine.”
Only three superiors general of the Tuscan Congregation are known by name: friar Matthew directed the Order in 1250, friar Aiutus in 1252 and Philip (Dexter) of Parma ruled immediately before 1256.
With the completion of their union the Tuscans quickly grew in stature through the multitude of privileges which they had obtained through Cardinal Richard Annibaldi, and which constituted them a full-fledged religious Order.
In 1244 they received the important and much coveted favours contained in the constitution Religiosam vitam eligentibus which placed them directly under Holy See, freed them from all tithes and taxes, gave them the right to elect their own superior general, and bury in their cemetery not only their own members but also laypeople. They depended upon the bishops only for ordinations and the establishment of new houses.