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My Life with the Saints Paperback – 1 Dec 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 414 pages
  • Publisher: Loyola University Press,U.S.; Reprint edition (1 Dec. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0829426442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0829426441
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 222,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


This is an award-winning memoir of one man's lifelong relationship with the saints who changed his life - Winner of the Prestigious Christopher Award! "My Life with the Saints" is at once James Martin's inspiring memoir of spiritual self-discovery and an homage to the Catholic saints who accompanied him every step of the way from his lukewarm childhood Catholicism to the executive fast track at General Electric to the Jesuits and a life dedicated to God. Martin looked and prayed for the saints - from St. Peter to pope John XXIII - to intervene and guide his life. As this witty, confessional, and surprising account unfolds, we see how saints can help us each find our way in the world.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paper Doll on 9 Dec. 2012
Format: Hardcover
'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 in the order that he came to know them, you can't help but feel as though you are taking a journey with Martin, living his life with him, and thus discovering these saints with him. The way the lives of the saints are interwoven with anecdotes and relevant tales from Martin's own life serves to reveal the impact the lives of the saints can have on someone. The saints should, after all, be our inspiration and yet often they feel unfamiliar, so holy and living a life so different from our own that it can be hard to relate them to our modern lives. And yet Martin somehow makes them modern again. As a Jesuit priest, he has many diverse experiences to draw from and therefore manages to set an example of how we can discover the saints in the most unlikely of places and at the most surprising times.

Martin tells the lives of the saints like a good story: he gives you characters so fleshy you feel like you know them, situations so real that you can find yourself relating to them, and enough details to make you interested. The way he writes is almost as though he's talking to a friend, and he will have you wanting to cry in sympathy at times and laughing out loud at others.

The great thing about Martin's way of looking at the saints is that it shows you how YOU can be a saint.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dannydal on 13 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well written book which allows the reader to learn basic background about saints across almost 2000 years. It is written from an American perspective which actually made it more interesting and covered people who many of us on this side of the Atlantic may not have heard of. For example, it does a nice summarised version of Dorothy Day which may actually inspire you to read Dorothy's own story in 'The long lonliness'. It also does a nice summarised version of the story of Bernadette which should inspire you to read the full biography of Bernadette. I enjoyed the little personal narrative that the author attached to the story of each saint. The only reason I did not give five stars was because potential readers might search for some of the 'saints' covered and discover that they are not 'formal' saints as decreed by the Catholic Church - even thought there can be no doubt that they ARE saints.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Price on 28 Dec. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
An easy read and a great way to find out about some of our most popular saints. Written with humour and a light touch. Could not put it down.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 281 reviews
168 of 171 people found the following review helpful
A New Way To Look At The Saints 12 Mar. 2006
By Timothy Kearney - Published on
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. He orders the people he includes in the approximate order the people impacted his life. So we get not only a biography of some giants in faith, we see how these lives have influenced his life and how he has grown as a Christian on account of their lives and holiness. Each significant portion of his life had a spiritual mentor and can challenge the reader to look at the spiritual heroes and heroines who have touched their lives.

I've not only read the book, I've used it as well. His St. Jude story is a perfect Lenten story for people reexamining their faith, so it became a homily. His idea of finding significant faith figures who have mentored his life became a Confirmation lesson. Very soon his book is going to be the selection of our parish's book club. I'm thinking it will also be great for an adult education class. However it's used, readers will find this is a book that will have staying power and can be read for both enjoyment and enrichment.
49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Great Book! 28 Mar. 2006
By Mary A. Thornton - Published on
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.
78 of 85 people found the following review helpful
Being Uniquely Ourselves on the Path to Saintliness 20 Mar. 2006
By Lisa M. Hendey - Published on
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!
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A Fine Work of Contemporary Spiritual Reading 18 Nov. 2007
By M. L. Asselin - Published on
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.'"

Martin's book shows one instance after another that though some saints and other formally undeclared holy men and women were known for their asceticism, others embraced food and laughter. What ties them all together (well, with one exception--Saint Mary) is that they were all sinners, some spectacularly so. But in striving to be Christian in the deepest sense of that term--to dedicate themselves to serving and loving their fellow human beings and thus giving expression to their love and service of God--they were also, as my spiritual director was indicating, saints. Thomas Merton's good friend once told him (quoted by Martin, p. 384), "All that is necessary to be a saint is to want to be one. Don't you believe God will make you what He created you to be, if you consent to let him do it?"

Much more than autobiography and hagiography, MY LIFE WITH THE SAINTS inspires the reader to think in a new way about what it means to aspire to holiness. Martin does this by personalizing the saints, what they meant to him and why at various stages in his life. Though this comes from a man whose choice in life is a radical departure from the strongly materialistic society in which he lives, Martin's story is a humble one, able to draw and be meaningful to a wide readership. (If it helps vocations to the Society of Jesus, though, well good for him, too.) The saints Martin describes are made alive in these pages. You come to like them, and to want to ask for the grace to emulate them in their best qualities as saints. How could a Catholic writer hope to accomplish more?
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Wonderfully written, highly inspirational 20 Mar. 2006
By Franciscan - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I can only say that this is one of the best books I have read in some time. I picked it up in NYC the week it was published and was very happy with it. I've already cited it while giving a homily. I'd recommend it to anyone.
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