Two days later, in a handwritten letter, he announced that he had set aside 20,000 lire as a fund for a perpetual chaplaincy at the Augustinian Church in Carpineto, whose office it would be to offer Mass daily for the intention of the Pope, and also to provide Masses on the anniversary of his death and that of his parents.
Five years later, in 1893 Leo took a consequential step to secure unity of governance in the Augustinian Order. Since 13th May 1804, when Pope Pius VII issued the Bull, Inter graviores, the section of the Order in the Spanish Empire (and the same held for all the Regular Orders) was separated from the main lifestream of the order at Rome.
The above Bull, which was granted at the request of King Charles IV of Spain and Cardinal Bourbon, the Apostolic Visitator of Regulars in that country. It provided for rule of Regulars in Spain and the Spanish Empire by a Spanish member of the order, having the same power as the head of the order residing in Rome. Inter graviores of I804 definitely made a separation within the Order which was to last for about ninety years.
The Augustinian Order was in effect cut in two, one part under the jurisdiction of the Prior General in Rome, while the order in the Spanish Empire was under a Spanish superior. Since 1786, trouble had been brewing for the Spanish section of the order, for at that time, Pius VI, in a Brief to the Spanish Augustinians, mentioned a breakdown in the observance of the Rule due to the lack of a superior to watch over them properly, and he provided a Vicar General for Spain.
When the countries of South America gained their independence from Spain, members of the order in these lands formed provinces and vice-provinces of their own, and were returned to the jurisdiction of the Prior General in Rome, for the bull Inter graviores of 1804 then no longer affected them.
The same held true for Mexico, so that by 1893 the only countries remaining under the jurisdiction of the Spanish superior were Spain, Philippine Islands with their oriental missions, and a few missions in South America. At that time (I893), a decree was issued by the sacred congregation of Bishops and Regulars, announcing that Pope Leo XIII desired and demanded that the Spanish Augustinians still separated from the jurisdiction of the prior General at Rome be reunited to the rest of the order.
The papal directive was followed, even if reluctantly by some Hispanic officials within the Order. For the first time in eighty-nine years, all members of the Order were under the authority of the Prior general in Rome, who in 1893 was Fr Sebastian Martinelli O.S.A., (later in Leo XIII’s pontificate to be made a cardinal and the Apostolic Delegate to the U.S.A.).
(Continued on the next page.)