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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

September 13, 2019 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. James E. Fitzgerald, SJ, who died on September 12, 2019, at St. Camillus in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He was 84 years old. May he rest in peace.

September 10, 2019 — U.S. News & World Report has released its annual rankings of the best colleges and universities in the United States, and all six Midwest Jesuit universities made the list.

The Jesuit Friends & Alumni Network (JFAN) will celebrate the feast of the North American Jesuit Martyrs on October 19, 2019, with a Jesuit Alumni Mass and Reception in several cities.

August 27, 2019 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Robert C. Thul, SJ, who died on August 25, 2019, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 89 years old. May he rest in peace.

August 21, 2019 — It is with great joy that the Midwest Jesuits welcome 10 new novices to the Jesuit Novitiate of St. Alberto Hurtado.

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Demontreville Jesuit Retreat House
The Demontreville Jesuit Retreat House is located on the shores of Lake De Montreville in Lake Elmo, Minn.