On his return to Scotland from imprisonment in England, George Hay studied John Gother's work, "The Papist Represented and Misrepresented". An introduction to Father Seaton, a Jesuit missionary at Edinburgh, was followed by a long course of instruction, and Hay was received into the Church in December 1749, aged 20.
Debarred by the penal laws from graduating or receiving his medical diploma, he accepted an appointment as surgeon on a trading vessel bound for the Mediterranean. While in London, on his way to join his ship, he became acquainted with Bishop Richard Challoner, Vicar Apostolic of the London District. The result of their meeting was that Hay determined to enter the priesthood, and on the arrival of his vessel at Marseilles, he journeyed to Rome, where he entered the Scots College. Among his fellow-students was the future Cardinal Erskine and the future Bishop John Geddes who was to be his coadjutor, 1781-99 . On 2 April 1758, he was ordained a priest by Cardinal Spinelli. A year later he returned to Scotland and was appointed to assist Bishop Grant at Preshome in the e Enzie district of Banffshire, which had remained faithful to Catholicism since the Protestant Reformation of 1560.
The photo shows some of his entry in the register of the Scots College, Rome (as well as Cosmo Stuart, another student) - all in Latin, of course. The entry is worth a post in itself!