Presenter: James Martin, is a Jesuit priest, editor-at-large of America, consultor to the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication and author of many books, including the New York Times bestsellers Jesus: A Pilgrimage and The Jesuit Guide.
James Martin was born in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., in 1960, attended Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 1982, where he received his bachelor’s degree in economics (B.S. Econ.) with a concentration in finance. After working for six years in corporate finance with General Electric in New York City and in human resources with GE Capital in Stamford, Conn., he entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in August 1988.
During his Jesuit novitiate in Boston, Martin worked in a hospital for the seriously ill in Cambridge, Mass.; in a hospice for the sick and dying with the Missionaries of Charity, and an orphanage, in Kingston, Jamaica; at a homeless shelter in Boston; and at the Nativity Mission School, a Jesuit school for inner-city boys, in New York City. In 1990, he pronounced his First Vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. From 1990 to 1992, he studied philosophy at Loyola University Chicago, and worked in an outreach program with street-gang members in Chicago housing projects, and at a community center where he helped unemployed men and women. For his “regency” assignment, he worked for two years with the Jesuit Refugee Service/East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, where he helped East African refugees start small businesses and co-founded a refugee handicraft shop called The Mikono Centre; and for one year as an associate editor at America in New York City. In 1995, Martin began graduate theology studies at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology (now Boston College School of Theology and Ministry) in Cambridge, Mass., where he received his master’s degree in divinity (M.Div.) in 1998, and his master’s degree in theology (Th.M.) in 1999. During his theology studies, he worked as a chaplain at the Suffolk County House of Correction, a Boston jail. After completing his Jesuit studies, he was ordained a Catholic priest in June 1999 in Chestnut Hill, Ma. On Nov. 1, 2009, he pronounced his Final Vows as a “fully professed” Jesuit in New York City.