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"Though we may draw a distinction between the saint and the social or peace activist and though the activist may criticize the saint for being insufficiently socially engaged, I will argue that the pursuit of holiness is not an alternate path to the pursuit of justice. It is not to be practiced only by saints, bodhisattvas and monastics, but rather is an integral part of the religious vocation of justice. Indeed the cultivation of holiness is a key element of the vocation of pursuing peace and justice even as the pursuit of justice, arising within the wider horizon of love and compassion, is a key to the practice of the religious life, particularly in the twenty-first century. I will begin by examining the path to holiness and the nature of the holy person presented in the world religions—in the monotheisms of the West, and in Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. I will then briefly explore the relationship between justice and the love and compassion embodied by such holy persons. This essay will conclude with a look at the lives of contemporary figures who bring together holiness and justice in their own vocations and therefore offer us models for living the religious life and working toward justice and peace in our time."



Publication Date



Marquette University Press


Milwaukee, Wisconsin


In Michael Duffey and Deborah Nash (Eds.), Justice and Mercy will Kiss: Paths to Peace in a World of Many Faiths.


"“Transforming Love: Holiness and the Vocation of Justice” by Nancy M. Martin, from Justice and Mercy will Kiss. Paths to Peace in a World of Many Faiths. Michael Duffey and Deborah Nash, editors. ISBN 9780874627350 Copyright©2008. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Marquette University Press. Reprinted with permission."

Transforming Love:  Holiness and the Vocation of Justice