Former St Peter’s head launching book

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Former St Peter’s College principal Fr Michael Hill has returned to Gore to launch his second book.

Fr Hill was principal of St Peter’s from 1974 to 1979.

His first book, Antonio Rosmini: Persecuted Prophet, traced the life of the founder of the Rosminian religious order.

Fr Hill said he had the idea for his second book – The Rosminian Mission – Sowers of the Second Spring – while writing his first.

“Antonio Rosmini had followers who travelled [from Italy] to the United Kingdom to preach and establish schools and parishes,” Fr Hill said.

His own work in the Gore district resembled that carried out by the Rosminian missionaries to the United Kingdom, he said.

He came to Gore to teach at St Peter’s College for reasons similar to those of the Rosminian missionaries to the UK.

“When we came to Gore we were doing the same thing.”

His new book focused on people’s stories.

The Rosminian missionaries were in the United Kingdom during the potato famine in Ireland, he said.

“A lot of Irish refugees fled to Scotland.”

The missionaries were able to help Irish refugees integrate into Scottish society, Fr Hill said.

Some of the missionaries even learned the Gaelic language “so they could communicate with the Irish, who couldn’t speak English”.

A great deal of research was carried out for the book, Fr Hill said.

“I had to go to Italy – luckily I can read Italian pretty well.”

He also went to visit churches and schools the Rosminian mission had set up.

Fr Hill said he enjoyed carrying out the research for the book.

“We consulted the locals in each place.”

It was important for people to learn about their history.

“Part of knowing who we are is learning about our history.”

The book launch will be held at the Eastern Southland Gallery from 5pm on November 23.