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My Life with the Saints
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My Life with the Saints

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  1,993 ratings  ·  240 reviews
One of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of the Year

Winner of a Christopher Award

Winner of a Catholic Press Association Book Award

Meet some surprising friends of God in this warm and wonderful memoir

James Martin has led an entirely modern life: from a lukewarm Catholic childhood, to an educationat the Wharton School of Business, to the executive fast track at General
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Paperback, 432 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Loyola Press (first published February 28th 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Webster Bull
When I was in fourth grade at The Blake School in Hopkins, Minnesota, I met my first Catholic. He was a boy in my class, who invited me over to his house one day. I don’t remember a crucifix or a Madonna; I don’t remember the term catechism or CCD being mentioned; I don’t even remember my friend’s name or what he looked like. All I remember is Butler’s Lives of the Saints, on the bookshelf above his head.

I understood, perhaps from a comment that he made, perhaps by noticing Butler, that my fourt
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Newengland
One of my reasonable goals for 2013 is to pay more attention to my neglected spiritual side. The urge has been there all along, but the last two months of 2012 increased the sense of urgency. "The world is too much with us late and soon," and all that. Reality needed to be checked.

So I scoured amazon for Thomas Merton-like writers. You know. Christians who aren't rolled in too much holy. Writers with a sense of humor and a sense of sin. Ordinary people like me who think too much for their own g
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Carole
Oct 23, 2007 Carole rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every Person
This is a really great, life-changing kind of book. The author is a Jesuit priest and the book is basically a memoir of how various saints have played an important role in his own life. He also explains some of the theology about saints and why they are important and tells a little about the life of each saint that has played an important role in his life.

The main point of the book is that each saint has his or her own personality with individual strengths and weaknesses - and that this shows t
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Jeanne
My own experience with Catholic saints was better than most raised in the Catholic tradition. I always viewed them as adventurous fairy tales, having been exposed to the grim version of the Grimm fairy tales. This book is written by a Catholic priest who came into the priesthood without really knowing the canon of Catholic popular media like "The Bells of St. Mary's" or "The Song of Bernadette". Without having been influenced by the stranger aspects that can come with Catholic folklore, James Ma ...more
Anna
An absolutely fascinating book...and unlike any other book on saints I have ever read. Although it is nothing like a devotional, every page has a little nugget to help with your every day life as he relates the lessons learned from saints. He talks about how saints are important to us not because they all do great things for God, but because they are individuals whom God used to do seemingly small things in an extraordinary way.
Sara
If you went to Catholic grade school, odds are that your classroom or library had multiple "lives of saints" books for your eight-year-old self to peruse. Full of lavish pictures of romantically dressed men and women, the books told stories about people who traveled to exotic places, fought authority in the name of justice, and performed the occasional miracle or two. And if that wasn't enough to make your eight-year-old-self love them, you might just have gotten hooked by the fact that there ar ...more
Grace
I am now officially a Father Martin fan. This is the second book of his that I've read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. More importantly, the stories and meditations on his favorite saints were packed with inspiration and practical wisdom. Father Martin's self-deprecating, witty writing style makes for a fun read that also happens to edify the soul.
Alexis
Reading Jesuit James Martin’s My Life with the Saints, brought home many key concepts for me. Some were just reinforcements of what I already know and understand, but there were other concepts, that I have felt before but could never describe, put into words, fully extrapolate, etc. You get the idea, I am sure. “Who trusts in God lacks nothing” was a Swahili proverb Martin cites at the start of one of the later chapters, and can really be seen as wrapping up the book’s entire message in a nice n ...more
Dennis Lid
The book is well written, a good summary of several saint's lives, and is obviously painstakingly researched. James Martin, S.J. has personalized the renderings of the saints lives with references to his own experiences. Yet, I find it difficult to retain a keen interest in reading the rest of the book, although I must admit that it gets more interesting as the book progresses. I have had to read it in fits and starts over a prolonged period of time and am determined to finish it. Right now I am ...more
Mary Harley
I've never really been interested to read what I've traditionally seen as a "lives of the saints" book. I have, however, taken time over the years to learn about specific people I've considered role models - Mother Teresa and Saint Francis, Dorothy Day and Pope John Paul, among others. In this book, James Martin writes a short chapter on each of 16 "saints" - some canonized, some blessed, some just admirable people you'd want to emulate in some way. Martin keeps the book interesting by moving it ...more
Sydney Young
My husband will say, "What a surprise! Another book you love!" I guess I wouldn't love to read if I only read books that were average. No, I like to try to be pretty selective about what I read, and have learned not to invest the time if it's not worth it for me, regardless of what others think. I do think, with the amazing number of books out there, it is important to read it all, but also to read the best of the best. So, why is this book another home run for me?

I have been Protestant all my
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booklady
My favorite books are those which introduce me to other books or people I want to read/“meet”/learn more about. James Martin S.J.'s My Life With the Saints is exactly that sort of book! Of course most of the saints he writes about are old friends so there weren't too many introductions per se. Still reading and hearing about how my favorite heavenly allies have helped others in their spiritual journeys was very comforting. I found myself nodding, smiling and thinking, “That sounds just like St. ...more
Becky Hirtzel
I am NOT catholic, so all I know about most saints is which local high school or hospital was named after them. This is a wonderful book, written by Father James Martin. It tells the story of his call to become a Jesuit through the stories of the lives of some of his favorite saints. Each chapter focuses on one saint: he relates how he came to learn about this saint or why this saint is important to him, then he briefly tells the story of that saint, and also includes a short sample of the writi ...more
Anthony Ventrello
It's been said that there are books that change your life, well this is mine. I've always had a good relationship with my saints, but I never went beyond my favorite saints, until I read this book. This book was like an answered prayer for me. I was introduced to many saints that I wasn't familiar with and it led me to discover new saints. Although I did not agree with some of Fr. Martin's choices such as Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton who will never become saints, I was pleased to learn more abo ...more
Anthony
December 20, 2014

A Review by Anthony T. Riggio of the book: “My Life with the Saints” by James Martin, SJ.

My Life with the Saints was loaned to my wife by a friend and I spotted it while I was between books to read and I picked it up, while my wife was still reading another book and said it was okay to read the book before her.

No matter whether it is a fictional novel or an expository book or a biography, you can almost tell in the first couple of pages whether you will enjoy reading the book. T
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Veronica Greenwell
I really enjoyed the historical, spiritual, and author's personal experience with each of the saint.
The questions in the back of the book helped me and a friend have some great discussions.
It's a great book for someone who wants to know more about "the saints"
Lee
I enjoyed this. There were some saints I knew, some I knew a little, and some I didn't know at all. I intend to go through the bibliography for more.

So far, I've not thought of the saints as "big brothers and sisters" for myself, but I will see if I can hold onto that idea in the future.
Cheryl Gatling
I loved looking at the picture on the front of this book. There are the saints lined up. There are men and women, people of all complexions, people wearing robes and monastic habits, people wearing modern-day suits. Looking at the picture, and reading the stories in the book, I found myself quoting the line from "Dover Beach": "so various, so beautiful, so new." (We will ignore the fact that that line is taken totally out of context, and Arnold's poem is really about the death of faith, and the ...more
Bernadette
Since memoirs are among my favorite books to read, I was intrigued with the jacket cover blurb for this book calling it a "spiritual memoir." James J. Martin knows how to tell a personal story with humor, wisdom, warmth, encouragement and exceptional detail for facts. He writes about his 20-year journey becoming and living as a Jesuit priest highlighting various saints that have played a role in his spiritual growth. Each chapter describes Martin's personal encounter/reflections on a saint inter ...more
Anne Keenan
As a Catholic I found this an interesting book to read. I would tend to recommend this book to Catholics as informative, interesting and well written. It was also interesting to learn about Fr. Martin's growth as a semi-believer to becoming a Jesuit priest. The author is a modern day Catholic who grew up with very little religious upbringing and found his calling after college and working in the daily grind in a large corperation. He gives us an interesting perspective of human people and how th ...more
Rebecca
Greatly entertaining memoir based around inspiring stories of saints.
John
Loved this book! Touching overview of Fr. Martin's most loved saints.
Tom
This book was an interesting introduction to Catholic saints who are important to the writer. As the title implies, it reveals how the author discovered the details of these saints and the importance of them to his life. I thought there might have been too much about the author, but it seemed to be an example of how one could conduct their own lives in a similar way, using what the saints have to teach us. It would be great to read a sequel of this book, as the author relates to other saints and ...more
Jennifer
As a lifelong (although not perfectly continuous) Catholic and now as a Religious Ed volunteer, one of my biggest revelations is the idea that saints are not holier-than-thou. Saints, for the most part, were pretty messed-up people at one or several times in their lives. I like to teach my children (both at home an at R.E.) that it's our goal in life to be saints. Kids will undoubtedly look at you with gaping mouths and disbelief when you tell them this, but if we're going to strive to be someth ...more
Suzanne
Our church decided to purchase 1,000 of these books and give them away to parish families this Christmas. I decided I had been lax on my spiritual reading, and endeavored to squeeze this one in during the holiday.

It was a wonderful book! James Martin is a Jesuit priest (and an excellent writer, I might add), who tells the reader about several saints who had an impact on his journey to becoming a priest and his own personal struggles. I had been introduced to several of these saints already, but
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Patrick
James Martin writes a great spiritual memoir of how he grew in his spiritual life with the help of saints' example. At once, a biography of the saints and memoir of his personal spiritual journey, Martin writes with a light-heart. For him, the saints represents the diversity of personalities that God works through and serve as a mentor of sorts through his spiritual growth.

Below are the saints he writes about and what it did in his life:

1) St. Jude is a patron saint of hopeless causes. As a chil
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Anna
Jun 10, 2012 Anna rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone. Catholic or Protestant.
Recommended to Anna by: A Catholic youth counselor.
I read this when I was new to the faith and experiencing a very dark period of confusion. It seemed every Christian or every Christian advice I'd received was from the typical stereotype of a robust, somber, judgmental, and unfortunately dull believer. It got to the point I was having trouble believing I could be faithful and still enjoy life or even laugh without committing some kind of sin. I was also starting to fear being unique or even just being myself.

The first thing I noticed upon readin
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Laurie
Fr. Martin is a very accessible author, even for a lapsed Catholic like me with no intention of returning to the church, both small and capital "C". I am interested in increasing my sense of the spiritual however, and Fr. Martin's books provide a sense of the familiar without making me feel uncomfortable. That's a neat balancing act and it's because Fr. Martin is not preachy and seems to understand so well his own and others shortcomings in striving to be "good" in this life.

In this book, Fr. M
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Jude
'My Life with the Saints' is a book for anyone seeking inspiration from the saints. Rather than a dry, heavy re-telling of the lives of saints, full of pious details that most modern readers will struggle to relate to, Fr James Martin SJ instead provides us with a beautiful and personal anthology of the saints.

This is no ordinary book about saints. 'My Life with the Saints', as the title implies, describes the life of Fr Martin and how he came to meet various saints. By writing about the saints
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Anna Dourgarian
James Martin’s My Life with the Saints presents an entertaining survey of a selection of inspiring saints. From famous men and women like Joan of Arc, Mother Teresa, and Peter the Apostle to lesser-known figures like Pedro Arrupe and Aloysius Gonzaga (both Jesuits), an array of people reveal an array of ways to be holy. In testimony to their motivational power, Martin blends their brief biographies with his own story. Readers learn about saints and about his journey as a contemporary Jesuit. Mar ...more
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James J. Martin, born 29 December 1960, is a Jesuit priest, writer and Culture Editor of the Jesuit magazine America.

Education and Career

Martin grew up in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, United States, and attended Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business in 1982 and worked in corporate finance at General Electric for six years.
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More about James Martin...
The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life Jesus: A Pilgrimage Becoming Who You Are: Insights on the True Self from Thomas Merton and Other Saints In Good Company: The Fast Track from the Corporate World to Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience

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