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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


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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

February 14, 2019 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Daniel L. Flaherty, SJ, who died at 2:20 p.m. (EST) on February 13, 2019, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 89 years old. Dan was provincial of the Chicago Province from 1973-1979. May he rest in peace.

February 13, 2019 — Ever since middle school I had loved science, but I also remembered many of the stories my mom told of the Jesuits she knew in India. So in high school when I first thought of a religious vocation the Jesuits came to mind immediately, even though I’d never met one!

February 11, 2019 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Philip J. Grib, SJ, who died at 7:47 a.m. (CST) on Friday, February 8, 2019, at Resurrection Hospital in Chicago. He was 80 years old. May he rest in peace.

February 5, 2019 — Today, on the 28th anniversary of his death, the cause for the beatification and canonization of Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, opens.

February 4, 2019 — The delegation visited the Kohima Region of India last month to explore possible areas of mutually beneficial exchange. .

January 28, 2019 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Timothy J. Shepard, SJ, who died at 4:00 p.m. (EST) on Friday, January 25, 2019, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was two days short of 73 years old. May he rest in peace.

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Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House is located on 80 acres of gently rolling meadows and wooded countryside just 35 miles northwest of Chicago.