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Lee Hoinacki


I was born in Lincoln, Illinois, the only town named for Abraham Lincoln before he became famous. In 1946, at the age of eighteen, I joined the United States Marine Corps, partly to "see the world." They sent me to China where I experienced what anthropologists call "culture shock," and this marked me for life.

In college I read Thomas Merton's Seven Storey Mountain shortly after it was published. This was the first of several books that have strongly affected me, perhaps acting as catalysts leading to major changes in my life.

I entered the Dominican Order in 1951, and in 1959 was assigned to work as a priest in a parish on the upper east side of Manhattan.

In 1960, I went to Puerto Rico to learn Spanish, and met Ivan Illich, who directed the language school. Two years later, I was sent to Chile, and four years later to Mexico where I joined Illich in his institute (Cuernavaca).

I returned to the United States in 1967, married, and entered graduate school (UCLA). Completing the degree, I worked in Venezuela, and then in an experimental university, Sangamon State, in Illinois. After receiving tenure, I quit to take up farming, trying to see how far we (wife, two children and myself) could move outside the economist/monetarist structure of society. In the meantime, I continued to collaborate with Illich.

During the last thirty years, I have attempted to frame certain questions. For example:

- Does the concept, "technological society," have any explanatory value?
- Are there modern forms of moving toward subsistence?
- Does manual work offer rewards never suspected by Greek thinkers (philosophers)?
- What are the sources of elaborating a critical view of contemporary society?

I have explored these and other questions through study and actual immersion, that is, hand labor. The questions are also discussed in two books, El Camino: Walking to Santiago de Compostela, and Stumbling Toward Justice.

Currently I am engaged in searching for an extra-temporal mode of looking at the questions that have bothered me since 1946. From a temporal perspective, this means doxologic speech and action.



  • Hoinacki, Lee (2004): Why Philia? Lecture given at the Lecture Series "Conversations: The Legacies of Ivan Illich" at Pitzer College, Claremont (California, USA), March 26-March 28, 2004
  • Hoinacki, Lee (2001): Thought on services
  • Hoinacki, Lee (2001): "Services, Hospitality, and ... Stories and Reflections." Preparation for the 2nd Oakland Table, May 2001.
  • Hoinacki, Lee (2001): "Walking With My Dead." Contribution to the Bremen lectures of Ivan Illich, 2000/2001.
  • Hoinacki, Lee (1999): Stumbling Toward Justice; Pennsylvania State University.
  • Hoinacki, Lee (1998): A Statement on Tools
  • Hoinacki, Lee (1997): El Camino - ein spirituelles Abenteuer; Herder, Freiburg.
  • Hoinacki, Lee (1996): El Camino. Walking to Santiago de Compostela; Pennsylvania State University.
  • Hoinacki, Lee (1996): Ivan Illich, a View of his Work
  • Hoinacki, Lee (1995): Friendship in the Writings of Ivan Illich.
  • Hoinacki, Lee (1994): On Reading Ivan Illich.
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