In 2009, two significant historical individuals close to climbers and outdoor enthusiasts were given a status near Sainthood: John Muir (1834-1914), the great explorer and photographer, and Hudson Stuck (1863-1920), the leader of the first successful ascent of Denali, were named Holy Men by the Episcopal Church.
Because of their status as great Episcopalians, Holy Men are assigned a feast day, a day of celebration, on the church’s calendar. April 22nd was named their combined feast day. Not coincidentally, April 22nd is also Earth Day.
If you’re Episcopalian, or even Catholic, you know that there was nothing resembling a Thanksgiving holiday on any saint’s or holy person’s feast day. Rather it is a day to contemplate, dwell, or meditate on the holy person’s life and work. However, there are particular mentions, prayers, or readings from scripture assigned or associated with the feast day’s honoree (or in this case, the honorees) on their feast day to help celebrate and speak something to one’s soul.
The official record by the Episcopal Church in naming these men as Holy characterized Muir as a “Naturalist and Writer” while identifying Stuck as a “Priest and Environmentalist.” (Stuck was an Archdeacon in the Diocese of Alaska.)
You may read the prayer and scripture readings by clicking to this page of the Episcopal Church’s website.
So on their upcoming feast day, ask yourself (and maybe even your friends), what does John Muir and Hudson Stuck mean to you and your community?