Although no records of the meeting any longer exist, what it decided is clearly known from the papal bull, Licet ecclesiae Catholicae of 9th April 1256 which promulgated its decisions. This bull still exists.
The bull is a masterpiece of conciliation and restraint. It scarcely suggested the conditions favouring the union of these religious groups.
Nor did it attempt to explain why the Williamites, who followed the Rule of Saint Benedict and had a different viewpoint about poverty, were drawn into the Great Union (although subsequently most of their houses persisted in obtaining permission to withdraw).
It is known from Licet Ecclesiae catholicae, the papal bull of the Grand Union, that it was Annibaldi who gave the Order its formal name.
Annibaldi also indicated its new mendicant direction and purpose, decided on the colour and the form of the religious habit to be worn by the friars, and chose its first Prior General.
Under the watchful eye and forceful personality of their Cardinal Protector, Richard Annibaldi, the Order of Saint Augustine moved to bring into practice the decisions of the Grand Union.
One obvious initial challenge was to convey the outcome to those communities that had not sent representatives to the Grand Union, but now nevertheless were obligated to implement them.
(Continued on the next page.)
For further reading
Cardinal Richard Annibaldi. By Francis Roth O.S.A. A long article that appeared in English in successive issues of the scholarly historical periodical, Augustiniana, of the Augustinian Historical Institute of Louvain, in 1952-1954. Part of Chapter 3 of the article, in Augustiniana of December 1952, specifically deals with this topic. Cf. pp. 230-247.
The Foundation of the OESA: A Reconsideration. This scholarly article written by Assistant Professor Eric Saak Ph.D. is available on Augnet. Click here.