This page of Augnet refers to a noble set of buildings that were built by the Order of Saint Augustine, and taken by the government of France in 1793.
It is still possible today to see these magnificent Augustinian structures of the fourteenth century to the eighteenth century.
The Order of Saint Augustine was much present around Toulouse in France right from the thirteenth century.
Toulouse was the place of origin of a separate group that followed the Rule of Saint Augustine.
This group was called the Brothers of Sack Cloth
, because their outer clothing was made of the same inexpensive and rough material as was used in making sacks to carry farm products.
They were founded in Toulouse in the year 1248.
Because they had begun after the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215, by its Canon 13 they were suppressed by the Second Council of Lyons in 1274.
After they appealed unsuccessfully to Rome a number of times, their houses were sold by the Pope or the local bishop, or handed over to other religious orders, including the Order of Saint Augustine.
This happened between 1290 and 1317 as communities of Sack Friars literally died out, and gave the Augustinians as many as fifteen new communities in France, a house in Barcelona (Spain) in 1295, another in Esslingen (Germany) in 1325, and in 1290 one at Acre
in the Holy Land (but it never became occupied by the Augustinians).
Fifty years after the Order of St Augustine began in its present form in 1256
, there were an estimated seventeen Augustinian provinces in the Order.
Two of these were centred in France. A third province named Toulouse-Aquitaine began in France between 1308 and 1311.
Toulouse therefore had both importance and status in the early life of the Order.
An early figure in the history of the Order of Saint Augustine in Toulouse was Blessed William of Toulouse O.S.A.
William was born about the year 1297 and entered the Order at about the age of nineteen years.
He was sent to the famous Augustinian study house (in Latin, studium generale)
. He then spent the greater part of his remaining years at Toulouse, France.
William was a polite man of gentle disposition. His preaching drew many others to the religious life.
Having great respect for poverty himself, he showed special compassion for the poor.
Most of all, he was a man of prayer, whether at home or on a journey. "To pray, or contemplate, or speak with God" were what he liked doing best.
William died in Toulouse on 18th May 1369. Pope Leo XIII confirmed his cult in 1893.
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