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Agnellus of Pisa

1194-1236. Franciscan provincial minister. Recruited personally by Francis of Assisi in 1211, he became guardian at the Paris house till 1224. Then, as first English provincial with eight brethren, he introduced the order into England. After a brief stay at Canterbury, they rented a house in Cornhill, London. Ordained priest in 1229, Agnellus exhibited tremendous humility and personal charm. He adhered strictly to the Rule's ideals of poverty and its rigid observance, but he was one of the group of officials whose policies quickly transformed the order from the original absolute simplicity of Francis's ideals through their enthusiasm for learning and papal privileges. He established a school at Oxford with Robert Grosseteste as lecturer about 1229 (the precursor of the university) and successfully defended his order's rights against the bishops in 1231.

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