The Paris studium generale (international house for higher study by members of the Order) was academically the best international study centre of the Order for a number of centuries.
It lasted until forced to close with the coming of the French Revolution in 1789.
One commendable feature of early Augustinian history was the realisation that the education of its members was important -and even necessary - for the successful penetration of the Order into relevance within society.
Coming into authority with the Grand Union of 1256, the Prior General, Lanfranc of Milan, only three years later had a house in Paris for the use of young Augustinians destined to study at the University of Paris, which then was the premier study centre of Catholic theology in the world.
Lanfranc bought the house, garden and all, for 200 Parisian pounds from a widow named Theophania. It was located at the foot of
Montmartre close to the present Rue St Eustace and near the stopping place named “Halles” on the Paris Metro today.
The conditions of sale, however, were onerous; the Augustinians were obligated to give 41 soldi (later four Parisian pounds) to the Bishop of Paris. The Augustinian General Chapter of 1260, however, authorised the purchase.
Incidentally, a document in connection with the establishment of the Paris convento contains the only known example of Lanfranc's signature.
This house was functioning by 1260. It was located outside the city gate of Saint Eustace and was inconveniently far from the University of Paris. Furthermore, within twenty-five years it was so successful that it was too small.
(Continued on the next page.)