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The Demontreville Jesuit retreat house during Fr. Ed Sthokal, SJ’s, 300th retreat as director Photo: Bob Conroy
Collaborating with God

By Fr. Ed Sthokal, SJ

Among my favorite authors is the Jesuit Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)  —  who envisioned human beings as collaborators with God in the ongoing creation of the world and, at the same time, collaborators with Christ in the ongoing redemption of the human race.

All this was made possible because in creating human beings, God endowed us with certain talents, skills, and abilities — abilities to fashion, to design, to put together, to build. This would make people creators with a small “c.” To create, one needs the necessary materials. Sometimes these materials are at hand. At other times, they have to be discovered. 

This can take a long time. For example, about the turn of the twentieth century, steel, oil, and electricity were discovered relatively simultaneously. It wasn’t long before large skyscrapers began to appear in every large city. Cement highways came to crisscross the country. The old lamplighter was well on his way to extinction. 


Don't miss A Jesuit's Journey
by Fr. Ed Sthokal, SJ as 
he reflects on his
many years of ministry


Click to read more


Not every person is called to build planes, trains, or space stations, but every person is required to build his or her own life (Chardin, Divine Milieu, pages 60-61). Weaving Chardin’s thoughts into a retreat does not detract from it, but can greatly enhance it. The same holds true for modern physics.

Finally, each person is given talents, skills, abilities, and a certain amount of time in which to put his or her life all together — physically, intellectually, spiritually. That is what life is about. That is what a retreat is about. Putting it all together. 

Father Ed Sthokal, SJ, a former retreat director at Demontreville Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. He now resides at a senior Jesuit healthcare community.

Return to the Jesuits Magazine Fall Winter 2017 Magazine Index





Recent News

Ash Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent, and the Ignatian family has a wide array of resources to help guide you through the next 40 days.

February 13, 2018 — Brendan Conroy has been named the new Associate Provincial Assistant for Secondary and Pre-Secondary Education.

February 5, 2018 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Eugene J. Nevins, SJ (UMI), who died 11:30 a.m. on February 2, 2018, at St. Camillus in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He was 85 years old. May he rest in peace.

January 30, 2018 — Eric Immel, SJ, works at Arrupe College at Loyola University Chicago, which seeks to dramatically reimagine how a school can offer a Jesuit, liberal arts education.

January 25, 2018 — Fr. Reim, a new Jesuit on campus, serves as Vice Superior of the Jesuit Community, minister of the Spiritual Program for Adults and in campus ministry.

January 22, 2018 — On Jan. 19, more than 800 students from Jesuit schools from across the United States gathered in Washington, D.C., for the Jesuit Mass for Life.

January 17, 2018 — “If I saw You on the street / and You said come and follow me…” These words from the song “You Can Have Me” by Sidewalk Prophets came on the radio one summer day. I had just graduated from St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio, and the words spoke to me in a life-changing way.

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Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Winnebago
Located 80 miles north of Milwaukee, the Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Winnebago welcomes men and women of all faiths to its silent preached and directed retreats.