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and founder of the English Franciscan Province, born at Pisa
c. 1195, of the noble family
of the Agnelli; died at Oxford, 7 May, 1236. In early youth he was received into the Seraphic Order by St. Francis himself, during the latter's sojourn in Pisa, and soon became an accomplished model of religious perfection. Sent by St. Francis to Paris
he erected a convent
there and became custos
. Having returned to Italy, he was present at the so-called Chapter
of Mats, and was sent thence by St. Francis to found the Order in England. Agnellus, then in deacon's orders, landed at Dover with nine other friars, 12 September, 1224, having been charitably conveyed from France
by the monks of Fecamp. A few weeks afterwards they obtained a house at Oxford
and there laid the foundations of the English Province, which became the exemplar for all the provinces of the order. Though not himself a learnedman, he established aschool for the friars at Oxford, which was destined to play no small part in the development of the university. But his solicitude extended beyond the immediate welfare of his brethren. He sent his friars about to preach the word of God
to the faithful, and perform the other offices of the sacred ministry. Agnellus wielded considerable influence in affairs of state and in his efforts to avert civil war
between the King and the Earl Marshal, who had leagued with the Welsh, he contracted a fatal illness. Eccleston has left us a brief account of his death. Agnellus's body, incorrupt, was preserved with great veneration at Oxford
up to the dissolution of the religious houses in thetime of Henry VIII. The cultus of Blessed Agnellus was formally confirmed by Leo XIII in 1882, and his feast is kept in the Order on 7 May.
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