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My Life with the Saints
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My Life with the Saints

4.31  ·  Rating Details ·  3,018 Ratings  ·  336 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  education at the Wharton School of Business, to the executive fast track at Genera
Paperback, 424 pages
Published December 1st 2007 by Loyola University Press,U.S. (first published February 28th 2006)
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Webster Bull
Jan 19, 2011 Webster Bull rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith, modern-saints
This is the book that "made" me a Catholic eight years ago, and my original review about its effects on my life and faith is below. This time I listened to the audio version winningly narrated by the author, whom you may have seen as the "chaplain" of the Colbert Report.

I "read" it again because I am one-half of a two-man book club, the other half being a secular Jewish psychologist who—though he finds my belief in a "sky god" somewhat odd—kindly asked me to choose a book, or the book, that had
Jan 04, 2013 Ken rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 13, 2007 Carole rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jan 15, 2009 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 13, 2009 Jeanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 22, 2011 Grace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 29, 2011 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
GK Stritch
Brilliant minded Jesuits, strong teachers with fascinating insights, JESUITS WHO KNOW MORE THAN ME have always captured my attention. Call me old fashioned, but I don't like Jesuits dumbed down.

The title, the cover, and the blurb caught my interest (Goodreads recommendation), but the premise of the book: a Wharton grad raised in a lukewarm Catholic family who knows little of Catholic culture and goes on to be a Jesuit--seems "spiritually lite" to use the author's words. If this is a way to reac
Sep 21, 2008 Alexis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 10, 2017 Allen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am so happy to have received this book as a gift. In it Father Martin opened my mind to a whole new way of looking at saints and how their stories may influence my story. He introduced me to saints that I did not know and reacquainted me with many others. Father Martin showed me that saints are human and unique individuals that permitted Jesus to become the center of their lives. We are all called to be saints; to be ourselves centered on Jesus. I feel that this is one book that I will return ...more
Mary Harley
Apr 29, 2009 Mary Harley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
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
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
Sydney Young
Jul 17, 2010 Sydney Young rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Oct 25, 2014 Mare rated it it was amazing
I actually read this after reading Martin"s book, Jesus: a parable, which I rated high and loved reading. In fact that was how I was into refocused to James Martin's work. I bought this book thinking I would read it later, so I did gradually. His writing is still engaging and easy to comprehend. He adds enough of his own personal spiritual journey to give it depth and organization, the saints and men and women he talked about were his favorites and were covered well enough in depth, he does give ...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
Dec 16, 2016 P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pleasantly affective narrative told through the chronological introduction of holy persons in Fr. James Martin’s rather unconventional Jesuit journey. Blessedly free of the banality that so often blemishes spiritual memoirs. Following his hero Thomas Merton, Fr. Jim’s central theme is the uniqueness of each saint and the multiplicity of desires that shape individuals' vocational path to God.

The saints (some of whom are not, in fact, canonized):
St. Joan of Arc
St. Therese of Lisieux
Thomas Merton
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"
Jan 18, 2012 Lee rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-church
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.
Allison P
Nov 20, 2016 Allison P rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is a very inspiring and encouraging read! Highly recommend!!!!!!!
Dec 15, 2012 John rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! Touching overview of Fr. Martin's most loved saints.
Sep 02, 2013 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Greatly entertaining memoir based around inspiring stories of saints.
Feb 08, 2010 Patrick rated it liked it
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
Mike Mikulski
May 10, 2017 Mike Mikulski rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. Martin's stories of the lives of 16 saints, from ancient to modern, fit well with Martin's journey from a young, talented business manager at GE out of Wharton to a Jesuit priest. Martin describes how his knowledge of these saints grew and fostered the development of his faith.

The saint's biographies are very well written and gave me the desire to delve more deeply into the lives of several. I found the highlight of this book was the story of Fr. Martin's vocation. It
Mary Brown
Mar 22, 2017 Mary Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the most influential books I have ever read! Father Martin makes the saints real friends who can help you become the "best you". He discusses spirituality in such a down-to-earth way that you can believe is is part of you, in fact, the best part of you. Saints are not put up on pedestals, but are beside you to look at as guides and friends.
James Martin has found his "best self" in writing and speaking. I am sure he has made a difference in the lives of many people.
Trish Fowlie
May 20, 2017 Trish Fowlie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
James Martin is as always entertaining, both personal and universal. I feel better for listening to his books, especially since he narrates them himself. He's capable of laughing at himself, something which to me, seems rare in US citizens, unless Jewish?, he combines wide knowledge with wide experience, informs me and encourages me.
James Scott
Mar 23, 2017 James Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a protestant, I've often struggled with the Catholic practice of prayer to the saints. In this book, Father Martin makes a compelling and personal case for it in his own life. I found myself drawn to several of these saints, wishing to know more. My "to be read" pile certainly expanded as a result, and I find myself in prayer, not reaching out to the saints, but better articulating my prayer to the same Holy Spirit that empowered them. I know that spirit better for having read about their liv ...more
Feb 26, 2017 Stephen rated it really liked it
A good read. This happy book reinforces how the saints impact and influence our own lives; in the decisions we make and the way we approach life. This helped me appreciate the saints I personally lean on and their influence in my life.
Queenie Chua
Oct 22, 2016 Queenie Chua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Insightful and easy to read. It not only introduces the lives of certain saints, but also incorporates the author's varied experiences, thus showing how the character and values of the saints can also be applied to modern life.
May 06, 2017 Jackie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Listened to this audiobook during my walks.
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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.
More about James Martin...

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“But it is always God who takes the initiative and who surprises us with his presence, as God did with Mary.
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