French, Peter (c.1615–1693), Dominican priest and missionary in South America, came of a distinguished Galway family. On completion of his studies in Andalucía in the 1640s, he obtained the royal consent to sail for Spanish America as a missionary. For thirty years he worked zealously among the indigenous Indian peoples of New Spain (as Mexico was then called) and elsewhere. He became so proficient in one of the Indian languages that he was able to compile a catechism for the people to whom he ministered in their own language; in Latin it was entitled ‘Catechismus, seu, Expositio fidei Christianae’. The Dominican province of Mexico honoured him by naming him a preacher general. The only other seventeenth-century Irish Dominican known to have voyaged to the New World was Raymund of St Catherine, who spent some years, allegedly, wandering about in the prosperous territory of Peru, collecting funds for the Irish colleges of Spain, till he was peremptorily ordered by the master of the order to return to Ireland in September 1640.
French subsequently returned to his Galway community before 1683 and continued his preaching ministry until his death in 1693. No copies of his catechism appear to be extant, and it is not clear if it was ever printed.