My Life with the Saints

James Martin, Author . Loyola Press $22.95 (411p) ISBN 978-0-8294-2001-2

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.)

Reviewed on: 01/16/2006
Release date: 03/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
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