The Saint Of Dawson
Father William Judge was a Jesuit priest who came to the Yukon Gold Rush, not for his share of wealth, but to bring his faith to where he felt it was needed most. From Baltimore originally, Father Judge moved from Alaska to Forty Mile in the Yukon, and then to Dawson. Despite being a frail man, Father Judge was sharp of mind and deep in faith. He established St. Mary’s Hospital in Dawson, where he provided food, shelter, medicine and care to those in need—of whom there were plenty. The kinds of men who ventured into the harsh northern climate, far removed from many of the comforts of the modern life, were stubbornly independent. They were not religious as a rule. However, Father Judge made quite a name for himself as a priest who was always there for any man in need, giving what he could to help a stranger as if he were his own brother. As a result, tough and rugged miners who normally paid clergymen little mind came to value Father Judge as a beloved saint or a close friend. Likewise, his ambition for a large hospital became well-financed by a successful prospector. Father Judge is credited for saving the health (and possibly the life) of Jack London, who would go on to write “The Call Of The Wild” and “White Fang.”
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