In 1446, the year that Nicholas of Tolentine O.S.A. was officially declared a saint by the church, Pope Eugene IV gave the Order of Saint Augustine its most influential cardinal protector since their first one, Cardinal Richard Annibaldi.
The new appointee was Cardinal Guillaume (William) d'Estouteville (1403-1483). He remained the cardinal protector for twenty-seven years, from 1446 until his death in 1483. He was a relative of the royal family of France. Immensely rich and powerful because of his family, he was to come within one vote of winning the papacy in 1458. He had entered religion as a Benedictine monk. Made a cardinal by Pope Eugene IV about the year 1437, he was commissioned by Pope Nicholas V in 1451-1453 to mediate between France and England, and to obtain from King Charles VII, who was the King of France from 1422 to 1461, certain modifications of the Pragmatic Sanction. He was the Archbishop of Rouen, France from 1453 until his death in 1483.
Simultaneously for much of that time he was also the bishop of five other dioceses in France and Italy (including that of Ostia, near Rome). In Rome he was the papal camerlengo (chamberlain) from 1477 until 1483. Estouteville won acclaim in France for revising the statutes of the University of Paris in 1452. In June, 1455, under the orders of Pope Calixtus, he led the commission that conducted the procès de réhabilitation (process of rehabilitating the reputation) of Joan of Arc. Joan had been tried at a court in Rouen in the year 1430, and was burnt at the stake on 30th May 1431 at the age of eighteen years, i.e., only twenty-four years later. One of the central witnesses in this process was the Augustinian, Jean (John) Pasquerel O.S.A., one of her confessors, who proclaimed that she was a holy woman and a saint, and not a witch or a heretic.
Another outstanding member of the Augustinian Order that Estouteville came to know was Alexander Oliva of Sassoferrato O.S.A. (1407 - 1463), the Prior General whom Pope Pius II made a cardinal on 5th March 1460. (A biography of Sassoferrato appears on the internet: scroll down to the fourth entry on the web site http://www2.fiu.edu/~mirandas/bios1460.htm
His immense financial wealth allowed Estouteville to undertake the construction of the manor house for his family at Gaillon, the two towers of the cathedral of Rouen, the archbishop's palace in Rouen, the archbishop's house at Pontoise, and the church of the iconic Abbey of Mount Sant Michel. In Italy he built in 1466 a new Augustinian convento at Cori near Latina (Lazio, Italy), in 1483 a new Church of Santa Aurea in Ostia (see photo gallery), and some churches in Rome - including the Church of Saint Augustine. Also in 1483 he donated 183 volumes to the monastery (convento) of Sant'Agostino in Rome. This library later became the famed Biblioteca Angelica, the Augustinian library in Rome that can claim to be the first public library in Europe. He may also have been responsible for another 130 codices, which had been donated to the Angelica by his secretary, John Baroncelli.
Most of all, Estouteville left a lasting monument for the Order of Saint Augustine by building the Church of Saint Augustine in Rome, which is the finest example of early Renaissance church architecture in that city. It was built between 1479 and 1484, in place of the church of Saint Trifon, in which the remains of Saint Monica, the mother of Augustine, had been transferred in 1430. The Church of S. Agostino is a very large and opulent church. Not one to do anything by half measures, Estouteville saw that S. Agostino was one of the first and best examples of Renaissance architecture in Rome. The façade was built with travertine stones stripped off the Colosseum. And this was not the only link of S. Agostino with ancient Rome.
As well, the cardinal had in mind the inscription of the Pantheon, decided to leave his name carved very visibly on the façade of S. Agostino, an example followed in the coming centuries by many other cardinals and popes. This inscription makes reference to Estouteville as the bishop of Ostia (which is a position occupied by the most senior cardinal), his town of origin – Rothomagen (the Latin word for Rouen in France) - and his very lucrative position - Camerarius (camerlengo in Italian, the treasurer of the Pope). The inscription reads: GUILLERMUS DE ESTOUTEVILLA EPISCO. OSTIEN.CARD.ROTHOMAGEN.S.R.E. CAMERARIUS FECIT MCCCCLXXXIII, meaning «William d'Estouteville, Bishop of Ostia, Cardinal of Rouen, Camerlengo, built this in 1483».
In order for the Augustinians to have proper administrative facilities a great monastery (convento) and General Curia was added to the church. In 1482 more than 100,000 ducats was still needed for the completion of both projects. In that year, the Augustinian General Chapter at Padua pleaded for the continued monetary assistance of its cardinal protector, but this did not happen. He died on 27th January 1483, and this placed a severe financial strain on the Order. On the death of Estouteville, his body was taken back to the cathedral of Rouen, and placed in a marble sepulchre that featured a bust of himself carved in marble (see photo above).
His successor as Cardinal Protector of the Order
On the death of Estouteville, another Cardinal Protector of the Augustinians was appointed. The Pope of the time was Sixtus IV (pope in 1471 - 1484), who had been Minister General of the Franciscans. In his first year of office he revoked the decree of Pope Callistus III which had removed all exemptions and privileges given to mendicant orders. His choice of a Cardinal Protector for the Order of Saint Augustine, however, was not as helpful. He appointed his nephew, Raphael Sansoni-Riario, who was only seventeen years old when appointed a cardinal in 1477, and nineteen when made bishop of the rich diocese of Cuenca, near La Mancha, in central Spain. In his entire tenure of twenty-five years as its bishop, Riario never once visited Cuenca.
This was the man who at the age of twenty-four years in 1484 became the third Cardinal Protector in the history of the Order of Saint Augustine. He subsequently was imprisoned because thought to have been implicated in a scheme to murder Lorenzo de'Medici of Florence - a shabby plot of which the Pope had some previous knowledge. Raphael Sansoni-Riario lived like a great secular lord at the expense of the church, as did many other relatives of the Pope. Raphael was the Cardinal Protector of the Order of Saint Augustine until his death in 1521. He was of little use to the Order during the years of its greatest crisis after 1517, when the Augustinian Observant friar, Martin Luther ignited the Protestant Reformation. Raphael was precisely the type of cardinal against whom Luther was loudly expressing his righteous indignation.
There exists a biography of William Estouteville more racy than what has been reported above. It depicts Guillaume d’Estouteville (1402-1483) from Rouen as a very powerful cardinal in the second half of the fifteenth century. This was the case allegedly not only because of his family of origin but also because he took part in five conclaves, i.e., the voting by cardinals to choose a Pope. At this time in history, the election of the pope often involved bribery by Roman families and by hopeful candidates for the papacy. At other times there were the rulers of nations willing to pay for political help from obliging cardinals who could influence papal decisions. For an influential cardinal such as Estouteville, this allegedly assisted him to enlarge the financial wealth that came from his family.
He bought the land near Piazza Navona in Rome, and then increased its value by having Pope Sixtus IV transfer there the fruit and vegetable market from the area below Piazza del Campidoglio. On some of this land was later built several French institutions. These included the Church of Saint Louis of France - S. Luigi dei Francesi - and the nearby hospice and hospital. He bore a son who was given the name of Girolamo Tuttavilla, which is an Italian copy of d'Estouteville. He bequeathed to his son the fiefs of the regional Italian towns of Nemi, Genzano and Frascati.
In history, Estouteville is also noted for successfully initiating the procès de réhabilitation ("process of rahabilitation") of St Joan of Arc, which dismissed her conviction of heresy that had happened over twenty years earlier in 1431. As mentioned previously, part of this process involved the eyewitness testimony of Jean Pasquerel O.S.A., who had been one of Joan's chaplains.
Guillaume d'Estouteville. Wikipedia. An extensive biography, but some details could bear with checking. He was not an Augustinian. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillaume_d%27Estouteville