Student Life

Laughing with the Saints: Joy, Honor and Laughter in the Spiritual Life.


Rev. James Martin, S.J.


MartinThe Rev. James Martin, S.J., is a Jesuit priest, author and culture editor of America, the national Catholic magazine.

Father Martin graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business in 1982, where he received a bachelor's degree in finance (B.S. Econ.).  After working for six years in corporate finance with General Electric Co., he entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in 1988.  During his novitiate, Martin worked in a hospice for the sick and dying with the Missionaries of Charity in Kingston, Jamaica; and at the Nativity Mission School, a school for poor boys, in New York City.  In Aug. 1990, he pronounced his simple vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.  From 1990 to 1992, he studied philosophy at Loyola University in Chicago, and also worked in an outreach program with street-gang members in the inner city.  For his “regency,” he worked for two years with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Nairobi, Kenya, where he helped East African refugees start small businesses; and for one year with Americamagazine in New York City.  In 1995, Martin began theology studies at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology, in Cambridge, Mass., where he received his master's degree in divinity (M.Div.) in 1998, and his master's in theology (Th.M.) in 1999.  While in Cambridge, he worked as a chaplain at a Boston prison.  After completing his Jesuit studies, he was ordained a Catholic priest in June 1999.   He received an honorary doctor of divinity degree (D.D.) from Wagner College in 2007.  On Nov. 1, 2009, he pronounced his final vows as a Jesuit.

Father Martin is the author of several books.  His bestselling memoir My Life with the Saints (Loyola, 2006), which received a 2007 Christopher Award, was named one of the "Best Books" of 2006 by Publishers Weekly, and also received a First Place award from the Catholic Press Association.  My Life with the Saints has sold over 100,000 copies and is used in universities, high schools, parishes and book clubs around the country.His book A Jesuit Off-Broadway: Center Stage with Jesus, Judas and Life’s Big Questions (Loyola, 2007), was named one of Publishers Weekly’s “Best Books” of 2007 and was awarded a First Place award from the Catholic Press Association. 

Father Martin’s latest book is The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life (HarperOne), published in March 2010.

He is also author of Becoming Who You Are: Insights on the True Self from Thomas Merton and Other Saints (Paulist, 2006), Searching for God at Ground Zero (Sheed & Ward: 2002); In Good Company: The Fast Track from the Corporate World to Poverty, Chastity and Obedience (Sheed & Ward: 2000); and This Our Exile: A Spiritual Journey with the Refugees of East Africa (Orbis: 1999), winner of a Catholic Press Association award.  He is the editor of Celebrating Good Liturgy: A Guide to the Ministries of the Mass (Loyola, 2005); Awake My Soul: Contemporary Catholics on Traditional Devotions (Loyola, 2004); and How Can I Find God: The Famous and Not-So-Famous Consider the Quintessential Question (Liguori, 1997).  His books have been translated into Spanish, German, Portuguese, Polish, Chinese and Korean.

Besides articles Catholic publications like America, Commonweal, U.S. Catholic and The (London) Tablet, Father Martin has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer and other national newspapers and websites, including, Beliefnet and The New York Times’ website. He has commented on religion and spirituality in the national and international media, and he has appeared in venues as diverse as National Public Radio's "Fresh Air with Terry Gross," NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” PBS’s “The Newshour with Jim Lehrer,” Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” and Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," as well as on all the major television networks, CNN, MSNBC, PBS, The History Channel, the BBC and Vatican Radio. 

For his writings and various ministries, Father Martin has received Fordham University’s Gaudium et Spes Award, the Ignatian Volunteer Corps’s Madonna della Strada Award, and the Loyola Institute of Spirituality’s Writers’ Award.

Besides his editorial, publishing and media work, Father Martin conducts seminars and retreats around the country, and assists on Sundays at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York City.