A hundred years later, it had over 500 houses and was present in nearly all the principal cities of Europe.
The Grand Union had included houses in Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Hungary
, Bohemia and England. Popes and bishops helped the Order to expand further.
Civil rulers also assisted. Albertus Magnus brought the Order to Regensburg, Germany in 1262.
Rudolph of Hapsburg, Louis of Bavaria, Charles IV, Philip the Fair (France), and the kings of Hungary welcomed Augustinians into their kingdoms.
In Spain, Ferdinand III, Alfonso el Sabio, Ferdinand IV, and the rulers in Leon and Castile facilitated the arrival of the Augustinians.
The two religious orders of mendicant movement
commenced by Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Dominic had the advantage of a founding figure who was himself a member of the order.
In contrast, the Order of Saint Augustine was founded by a papal decree. It had no similar founding member to encapsulate its spirit and to facilitate its growth.
Even so, the Order prospered on the spirit and the Rule of Augustine
, a man who had died 800 years earlier.
For those interested in statistics, the early centuries of the Order of Saint Augustine are a frustration.
Only shreds of numerical evidence have survived about the number of provinces and personnel in the early centuries of the Order, and some of that evidence was written down by writers who lived many generations later.
The number of Provinces, 1256 - 1329.
The documents of the General Chapter held at Siena
in 1295 (i.e., about half a century into the history of Order), allow the deduction that there were seventeen Augustinian Provinces at that time.
Scholars list ten of these provinces as being in Italy: Pisa (documented as existing in 1259), Siena (1260), the Marches of Ancona (1262), Romagna (1267), Lombardy (1275), Valle di Spoleto (1281), Venetia (1287) , Fermo, Treviso, and a tenth Italian province (probably Sicily).
There were at least six - and probably seven - provinces beyond the Alps: The Provinces were named Germany, France, Provence (i.e., a second French province), Spain
(including Portugal), Catalonia-Aragon (i.e., a second Spanish province), and England
. The seventh Province at that time was most likely Hungary
Numerically at this time more than half the entire membership of the Order was Italian.
It is certain that by 1329 (i.e., only thirty years later) there were 24 provinces. Germany had four provinces in 1299: Bavaria including Bohemia, Austria and further east), Saxony-Thuringia (including north Germany), Rheno-Swabia (including the German-speaking Swiss cantons and Alsace) and Cologne (including the present-day Belgium and Holland).
In France, there was created a third and fourth province: Toulouse-Aquitaine and Narbonne-Burgundy.
Finally in the eastern Mediterranean there was the Province of Puglia and the Holy Land, which sometimes was called the Province of Cyprus. It included houses in Crete, Corfu, Cyprus and Rhodes.
The Province of the Holy Land never reached Palestine. On the instruction of the pope, the Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1290 was to give to the Augustinians the house at Acre (now part of the State of Israel) that previously belonged to the disbanded Friars of the Sack
. Acre, however, fell into the hands of Muslim forces in 1291 before any Augustinians had reached there.
The 24 provinces of 1329 all still existed in 1357.