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Isaac Hecker: An American Catholic
     

Isaac Hecker: An American Catholic

by David J. O'Brien
 
'Isaac Thomas Hecker loved to tell his story. Perhaps no American of the nineteenth century was as convinced that his own life embodied the meaning of the national experience. Hecker's journey took him from a German immigrant family in New York through the transcendentalism of New England's Brook Farm to Christianity to the Catholic Church and finally to the

Overview

'Isaac Thomas Hecker loved to tell his story. Perhaps no American of the nineteenth century was as convinced that his own life embodied the meaning of the national experience. Hecker's journey took him from a German immigrant family in New York through the transcendentalism of New England's Brook Farm to Christianity to the Catholic Church and finally to the priesthood. Hecker then spent his priestly life trying to persuade others to follow his path.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Founder of the American order of Paulists, Hecker (1803-1888) is described in the spirited foreword to this comprehensive biography as ``a tortured idealist who matched his time and place.'' A convert to Catholicism at age 41, Hecker was a born evangelist whose early sojourns with the New England Transcendentalists at Brook Farm and Fruitlands illuminated his mature vision of a Catholic America. After his 1849 ordination, however, he had difficulties with ecclesialstet authority and a falling-out with his old friend and mentor from Brook Farm, Orestes Brownson, another visionary and vocal convert to Catholicism. Hecker's wrenching inner conflicts and his outer struggle to put in action a uniquely American spirituality are revealed in this finely tuned portrait of a man whose struggle to reconcile religious faith and American identity has contemporary resonance. A professor of history at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass., O'Brien elucidates the forces that shaped American religious history in the past century. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Library Journal
In the first full-length biography of Hecker, a 19th-century priest and mystic, O'Brien plumbs the depth of Hecker's evangelical view that America should become Catholic and that absolutely all human life should be brought under the direction of God's holy spirit. O'Brien captures the innocence and confused excitement of the young seeker as he sets out on a course that takes him through the transcendentalist themes of the time. Finding that philosophy could pose, but not answer, the fundamental questions of life, Hecker was driven to Catholicism and formed a congregation devoted to converting non-Catholics to Catholicism. In their evangelical efforts, the Congregation of the Missionary Priests of St. Paul the Apostle (the Paulists) explore reason, free will, and human dignity through such publications as Catholic World . O'Brien effectively depicts the exterior of this many-faceted, introverted, activist priest. Recommended for scholarly collections.-- L. Kriz, Sioux City P.L., Ia.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780809103973
Publisher:
Paulist Press
Publication date:
08/01/1992
Pages:
480
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.33(h) x 1.44(d)

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