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My Life with the Saints Paperback – October 1, 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 414 pages
  • Publisher: Loyola Press; Reprint edition (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0829426442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0829426441
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (253 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Martin, a Jesuit priest and associate editor of America magazine, takes a splendid idea and develops it masterfully by weaving stories from his life into those of his favorite saints. Leading off with St. Jude, whom he affectionately dubs "the saint of the sock drawer" (where his statue of the saint of impossible causes took up residence after the author entered high school), Martin relates how he discovered various "saints" and how each has affected his life. Thomas Merton, for example, influenced his decision to leave a corporate career for the priesthood, and John XXIII taught him how to live chastely as a member of a religious order. Both Merton and Jesuit Pedro Arrupe served as models for obedience to religious superiors even as Martin's own superiors instructed him to avoid certain controversial topics in writing this book. Martin's personal experiences of befriending saints provide convincing testimony as to their efficacy as role models. He draws a distinction, however, between the superstition that sometimes surrounds Catholics' reverence for the saints and true devotion to them. Despite a theme built on a particular facet of Catholic belief, Martin's animated style and wide-ranging experiences make this a book readers of diverse backgrounds will enjoy. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

It is one thing to read the lives of the saints, quite another to read about somebody who lives with the saints, who thinks about, researches, and calls upon certain saints regularly. Such a person is, today, a rarity. Such a person is GE-exec-turned-Jesuit Martin, associate editor of the national Catholic weekly America, who details his introduction to and relationship with more than a dozen of his favorite haloed heroes in this book. They include Jude, patron saint of lost causes, whom Martin refers to as "the saint of the sock drawer" because that's where, when a young man, Martin kept a statuette of Jude; Ignatius Loyola, who inspired Martin to look for God in his daily life; and St. Joseph, whose quiet service to Christ motivates Martin. With wit and candor, Martin brings those and his other seemingly distant role models down to earth, citing instances from their biographies and, with deepest effectiveness, revealing his personal connection to each and how each has assisted his life. Donna Chavez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

I bought over a dozen copies of this book as Christmas gifts.
R. Vosburg
I found Father James Martin's presentation of his journey of Faith in the Jesuit community a good depiction of how the saints help us know how to live wisely.
Bill whelan
I can only say that this is one of the best books I have read in some time.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

163 of 166 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Kearney VINE VOICE on March 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I knew I'd probably enjoy James Martin's MY LIFE WITH THE SAINTS as soon as I started reading it. I've read other books by Martin and have found him to have the rare gift of writing about himself and his experiences while at the same time creating a book that really isn't about him. Anyone who has read even portions of IN GOOD COMPANY or THIS OUR EXILE will probably agree. Martin uses his own experiences to share something larger, namely faith and how we find God. Some critics have even called him a modern Thomas Merton, something Martin would probably eschew (see his chapter on Merton and you'll know what I mean), but like Merton, James Martin is using his skills as a writer to articulate faith in a way that is inviting for those who are searching and engaging for people looking for something deeper.

Enjoying MY LIFE WITH THE SAINTS did not surprise me, but what did impress me was Martin's original approach to the lives of the saints. This is not a dry collection of short biographies of well known Catholics, most of whom are canonized saints, and are somewhat well known. It's a combination biography of the saints and memoir. We learn about the person's life, but we also learn how the saint touched Martin's life in a somewhat chronological order. The saints and people included are not unexpected. Any self respecting Jesuit would have to include Ignatius Loyola, Aloysius Gonzaga, and Pedro Arrupe. Since Martin is a writer and strong voice for social justice, Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day were not far fetched figures to include. Therese of Lisieux and the Apostle Peter are again beloved and no surprise. The fact the writing is concise and engaging is again, no surprise. What impressed me as being a great way of writing about saints is Martin's organization.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Mary A. Thornton on March 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up at my local library several days ago. It's wonderful. So wonderful, I am going to purchase my own copy. I felt like Father Martin was sitting next to me; talking about his faith journey. With his telling, I feel more equipped to discern my own journey. Now, if he just had not listed books to read in the back of the book. Stacks of books I want to read are conquering my household.
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77 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Lisa M. Hendey VINE VOICE on March 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Father James Martin, author of the wonderful new spiritual memoir My Life With the Saints (Loyola Press, March 2006, hardcover, 411 pages) has great news for those of us who may feel that we fall short of the devout role models provided by the saints. By sharing his own spiritual journey, Martin offers the reader an intimate insight into the holy men and women he looks to as inspirational companions. What is refreshing about Martin's book, however, is its "down to earth" look at these revered individuals. Far from portraying them in airbrushed holy card fashion, Martin shows them as individuals with struggles, foibles, and difficulties just like the ones each of us face in our own day to day trials to live as God would have us live. 

As a wife and mother, I find myself dually concerned with leading a holy and meaningful life and with setting a good example for my children.  Sometimes, in the midst of the eighth load of laundry or the fourth toilet cleaned, it can feel difficult to make the connection between domestic duties and a life of meaningful service.

In my own mind, I frequently encourage myself with thoughts of St. Therese, the Little Flower, and her Little Way.

When I read Fr. Martin's book for the first time, I felt like I was listening to the voice of a friend - here was someone, like me, who found friendship, consolation and encouragement in relating to the lives of the saints.

Martin's saintly compatriots are shared chronologically in the book, in relation to his encounters with them along his own spiritual path. This book is readable, inspirational, and informative. A wonderful compliment to any spiritual library!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By M. L. Asselin VINE VOICE on November 18, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
MY LIFE WITH THE SAINTS is a deeply reflective and often moving treatment of several Catholic saints, some ancient, some modern, some declared, some yet-to-be, some contemplative, some active. Their stories are told in the context of a young priest's encounter with them in his formation as a Jesuit.

James Martin, S.J. paints short vignettes of the lives of the saints as he meets them along the path of his vocation, from graduating The Wharton School of Business to serving as a new priest. Martin's story is not that of a pious Catholic school graduate who was always steeped in traditional Catholic culture. Neither is he a particular rebel or outcast who's come back into the fold. Martin is, rather, a kind of ordinary American guy who turns out to have had a vocation to the priesthood. What's more, as shown in this book, he has a true gift as a spiritual writer.

I once had a spiritual director who referred to everyone as "saints"; from the perspective of "holiness," I know I sure didn't feel like one, even less, perhaps, these many years later. Most of my acquaintances, then and now, joke about *not* being "saints," that they are too fond of nightlife and generally having a good time to be regarded like someone they think of as pious and self-abnegating. Indeed, Ambrose Bierce described a saint as "A dead sinner revised and edited." He continued (THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY), "The Duchess of Orleans relates that the irreverent old calumniator, Marshall Villeroi, who in his youth had known St. Francis de Sales, said, on hearing him called saint: `I am delighted to hear that Monsieur de Sales is a saint. He was fond of saying indelicate things, and used to cheat at cards. In other respects he was a perfect gentleman, though a fool.
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More About the Author

Rev. James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest, culture editor of America magazine, and author of numerous books, including My Life with the Saints, which Publishers Weekly named one of the best books of 2006. Father Martin is a frequent commentator in the national and international media, having appeared in such diverse outlets as The Colbert Report, Fresh Air, The O'Reilly Factor, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Boston Globe, and on the History Channel, BBC, and Vatican Radio. Before entering the Jesuits in 1988 he graduated from the Wharton School of Business.

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