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Father de Rotz's numerous activities

When Father de Rotz was appointed to Sotome, he was shocked by how poor its inhabitants were. He gave the whole of the fortune which he acquired through inheriting his parent's house to Sotome.

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Candidates for a world heritage

Shitsu church Shitsu church
Shitsu church

People in Shitsu began returning to the Catholic Church once Father Petitjean visited the area following the Discovery of Hidden Christians at Oura in 1865. In 1876, Father Pelu built a temporary church there. In 1879, Father Marc Marie de Rotz was appointed to Sotome.
Father de Rotz was born into an aristocratic family in France, and arrived in Japan when he was 28. His many achievements include the lithographic prints he made, as well as the Latin Divinity schools he built (both at Oura Cathedral in Nagasaki and also in Yokohama). He was appointed to Sotome when he was 39, after 11 years in Japan. It is said that he was shocked by how poor people in Sotome were and that he possessed a strong sense of duty towards helping them.
The influence which Father de Rotz had on the local area can scarcely be exaggerated. He constructed Shitsu and Ono churches as bases for his missionary activities, and he also established a welfare institution which offered employment to women with the intention of helping them to become self-reliant. In addition, he taught agriculture to local people using land which he himself had cleared and cultivated. He also helped local fishermen by maintaining the harbour, and discretely maintained the roads around the village. He provided medical care by establishing a medical clinic and by treating people for infectious diseases, and by doing so he saved many lives.
Father de Rotz devoted his many talents to helping Sotome. All of his numerous activities were undertaken in the same spirit of love as that which led him to donate his entire fortune to Sotome.