Fr. Edward S. Sthokal, SJ
Fr. Edward S. Sthokal, SJ
Perhaps the greatest tribute is to say is that Ed Sthokal was a powerful instrument of God's grace.
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Fr. Edward S. Sthokal, SJ

Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Edward S. Sthokal, SJ, who died on August 11, 2020, at St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He was 98 years old. May he rest in peace.

Ed was born in Milwaukee on January 20, 1922, and attended St. Adalbert's Grade School and Marquette University High School in Milwaukee. He completed two years at Marquette University before entering the Society of Jesus at St. Stanislaus Seminary, Florissant, Missouri on February 4, 1942. He had the usual Jesuit course of studies at St. Stanislaus, St. Louis University, and St. Mary's College. Ed was ordained on June 16, 1954, made tertianship in Decatur, IL, and pronounced his final vows on August 15, 1958.

During regency, Ed taught English and theology at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City (1949-1951). After tertianship he was an associate pastor at the Church of the Gesu in Milwaukee for one year and taught for two years at Campion Jesuit High School in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. In 1959, the direction of Ed's ministry changed when he decided not to pursue a doctorate in English. Although he had never given a men's retreat or worked in a retreat house, he was missioned to work at Jesuit Retreat House (a.k.a. "Demontreville") near St. Paul, Minnesota. He ministered at Demontreville for 58 years until, in 2017 (at the age of 95 years old), he was missioned to pray for the Church and the Society at St. Camillus Jesuit Community. For 24 of those years Ed served as the director of this very successful ministry. Through his efforts and the efforts of the many Jesuits he recruited to offer weekend retreats at Demontreville, thousands upon thousands of Catholic men from the Twin Cities area were exposed to the dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises and had an opportunity to deepen their life in the spirit.

Ed stated Demontreville's mission simply: "We will do one thing; we will do that very well." And that is what the retreat house has done!

Every Jesuit begins his life in the Society by pondering the First Principle and Foundation. Then living it defines the rest of the journey. Ed Sthokal lived well the part of the foundation which talks about "using these things to the extent they help us to our end." He was a man of creativity, resourcefulness, and sharply focused intention. He loved the Exercises and deeply loved the men of Demontreville. His bluntness was always underpinned with genuine affection and respect. Perhaps the greatest tribute is to say is that Ed Sthokal was a powerful instrument of God's grace.

Ed will be cremated, and, when the St. Camillus Jesuit Community can gather together as one, there will be a funeral Mass. Plans are being made for a memorial Mass at St. Thomas More Catholic Community in St. Paul.

In Memoriam
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August 18, 202010:07 AM
Fr. Sthokal was a very saintly man whom I so fondly recall from my 20 years of retreats at Demontreville. His sense of humor and genuine love for all the retreatants was masked by his gruff exterior. But it was in the confessional where his true affections were displayed. I will never forget his kind words and counsel. His jokes and shtick were legendary yet carried a profound and simple message: we are all given unique gifts that no-one else has and God wills that we use them to their fullest. No simpler message could have such a profound affect on the thousands of men who made retreats at Demontreville. May God grant Fr. Stohkal the reward he deserved and may he continue to intercede on behalf of all of us and his beloved Jesuit Retreat House at Demontreville. – Tim Geisler

August 18, 202011:06 AM
I thank God for the many retreats at Demontreville. Fr. Ed was " no nonsense and all mission". The atmosphere he nurtered their was indeed a "retreat" for many business execs. AMDG Fran Wiesner – Francis wiesner

August 18, 202011:43 PM
Fr. Sthokal lived with such joy and enthusiasm. He took everything as a gift--to be thoroughly enjoyed and carefully cultivated and generously shared. He loved dogs and horses and photography and carrot cake. His genuine affection and respect extended widely, to include us high school kids who served meals on retreat. I am so grateful for the steadfast guidance and life-long friendship that followed my days at Demontreville. Fr. Sthokal was truly a powerful instrument of God's grace in my life. May the angels lead you into paradise. – Michelle Hirschboeck

August 22, 202010:59 AM
Fr. Sthokal always reminded us when on retreat at Demontreville to pay attention to the crows as they were sacred too. The crows would lead us to prayer and ultimately to God. "When the pupil is ready, the master will appear." – John K Hulett

September 03, 20203:58 PM
Fr Ed was marvelous in his retreat work at Demontreville, where he was retreat master. His down-to-earth, candid style helped many of us develop a more enhanced spirituality and awareness. May he rest in peace! – Max Kaiser, Jr KHS

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