Isaac Thomas Hecker, 1819 - 1888

Isaac Thomas Hecker was a religious seeker, member of Brook Farm, member of Amos Bronson Alcott's Fruitlands, and later a Roman Catholic priest.  He worked as a baker in his family's New York flour mill until he experienced a series of mystical "visitations" in autumn 1842.  He was then influenced by Orestes Brownson, whose Transcendentally-inspired ideas of religious authenticity and social reform led Hecker to question the institutions of society and his role in it.  He began to read Kant, Fichte, and Hegel, as well as Brownson's Boston Quarterly Review.  From January to June 1843 Hecker resided at Brook Farm and studied philosophy, French, and music.  Not finding the Brook Farm community ascetic enough, he then joined Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane at Fruitlands but remained there only about two weeks.