Filippo di Leonardo di Cola was born in Siena, and lived most of his life as an Augustinian in the nearby Eremo (convento) di Lecceto.
As well as his labour at Lecceto, his legacy was greatly enhanced by his writing, which has won him a place in the history of fourteenth-century Italian (and particularly Sienese) literature. Filippo, also known as Filippo Agazzari, was born in Siena around 1339. He was received into the Eremo di Lecceto on 31st December 1353. He was then professed for the convento of Saint Augustine in Siena (which no longer operates as a place of worship).
As a young student, while visiting the Augustinian convento at Monticiano he was reported for taking part in a game of dice, and was punished by the Prior General, Gregory of Rimini O.S.A. As a deacon, he was stationed at the Augustinian convento of San Leonardo al Lago near Lecceto in 1363, where he assisted with the burial of sixty-three victims of the plague. Later he was transferred to Lecceto, and was definitely there by 1388.
Filippo was a gifted preacher and story-teller. He published some of his moralising stories as Gli Assempri (“Examples”). They contain sufficient factual details also to serve as a historical resource for details of the early Augustinian history of Siena and Lecceto. On 13th May 1398 he was appointed Prior (Augustinian religious leader) of Lecceto, and retained that position until 1420. This was during the second great building phase in the history of Lecceto. (The imposing tower - see photo above - was begun in 1405, and completed in 1408.)
In 1408 he took a prominent part in an unsuccessful attempt to convert Lecceto into a house of the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine, which was a completely separate religious order. Although this attempt was bitterly resented by the Prior General and many other Augustinians, Filippo was left in control at Lecceto until 1420, when he resigned from the office of prior. Over eighty years of age, he died there on 30th October 1422.Photo galleryFor the Augnet photo gallery on Lecceto and S. Leonardo al Lago, click here.
For more reading
Augustinian Origins, Charism and Spirituality, by Balbino Rano O.S.A. (edited in English by John Rotelle O.S.A.): Augustinian Press, Villanova, Pennsylvania, 1994.