The contemplative dimension of the Augustinian Order, almost exclusively from the Augustinian eremitical groups preceding the Grand Union of 1256, was maintained by the female branch of this Order, selected by certain individuals and certain monasteries. The congregations of observance began to emerge in the fourteenth century, and the movements of reform in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These enriched the story of the holiness of the Order, accenting this dimension, important for the spirituality of the Order. The Hermitage at Lecceto, initiator of the first congregation of observance, can be seen as a symbol of this contemplative dimension, especially in the sanctity of its members.
A member of one of the principal families of Siena, Blessed Anthony de Patrizi entered the Augustinian Order and spent most of his life at the monastery of Lecceto, though he died at the hermitage of Monticiano about the year 1311. A Brief Life of Some Hermit Friars composed by the Anonymous Florentine sometime before 1336, offers the following information concerning Blessed Anthony: “Friar Anthony was revered in the city of Siena, but his glory is in the city blessed by his death. For, as Friar Anthony was traveling to Camerata to visit his friend, Friar Peter of Florence, he had to stop for the night at the Augustinian monastery of Monticiano. That very night in that strange place the Lord called his servant to eternal life, completely unknown to his hosts. But they were to soon learn of his passing and his sanctity. For nearby was the residence of a gentleman and his wife, both of whom were desperately ill. Worn out by the constant care required by their masters, the servants were resting at a window which faced the monastery. Suddenly they saw a great light come out of the monastery and touch the sky. The servants immediately called the couple and the whole family to see the marvelous light. At first some thought the monastery was on fire. But when they considered the phenomenon more closely, they reached the conclusion that there must be someone in the monastery whose sanctity touched the heavens. By the will of God the sick couple believed in the merits of the saint whose light they had seen. With great devotion they commended their infirmity to his intercession and were immediately restored to health. With their whole household, they eagerly went to the monastery, where they recounted the marvels that had taken place, namely, the great light that touched the heavens, and their conclusions about the presence of a saint whose merits had freed them from infirmity. They therefore wanted to see the holy man.”
“The astonished friars then discovered that their holy guest, Friar Anthony, had expired. The friars were not unaware that their neighbors had been sick. To this very day the saint’s body remains fresh and incorrupt, and exudes such a wonderful fragrance that, if for no other reason, he would be considered a saint by everyone. Notwithstanding, the Lord deigns to work with many, almost innumerable, signs in his behalf, as is evident at Monticiano.” He is remembered by the Augustinian Family on 27 April.