An amazing Place – An Amazing History
A true architectural wonder, the Basilica of Our Lady of Victory stands as a tangible symbol of one man's unshakable faith and devotion to his patroness, Mary. It is a place of wondrous beauty, radiating hope to all those who arrive at its doors in desperate need. Its hundreds of paintings, sculptures, and mosaics dazzle the senses and evoke awe in even the hardest of hearts. But, above all, the Basilica is a gift of thanks. A gift, offered by Msgr. Nelson Baker, to his helpmate the Blessed Mother, for more than 50 years of inspiration and spiritual assistance She offered him.OLV Dome
The year was 1921. At a routine parish council meeting at the then St. Patrick’s the 80-year old Father Baker shocked all in attendance as he calmly unveiled plans for a shrine that would rival any church within the U.S. Speaking before an astonished crowd, the humble priest outlined his desire for the finest materials and artists to come together for a true master work -- a way of paying homage to Our Lady of Victory who provided him with so much throughout the years. Dazzling all with his infectious vigor, construction was begun almost immediately.
By Christmas of 1925, construction of the great Sanctuary of Our Lady of Victory was completed -- and paid for. On May 25, 1926, a very special consecration ceremony took place.Angel Attended by thousands of local dignitaries, religious, and well-wishers, the event was presided over by Father Baker, Bishop William Turner of the Diocese of Buffalo, and Cardinal Patrick Hayes. Within two months an even higher honor was paid the shrine as it was officially designated a Minor Basilica via an apostolic decree from Pope Pius XI. Father Baker's greatest dream had been realized.
Although the Basilica has seen many years, its original design has seen few changes. The most profound occurred on March 11, 1999: the day, that Father Baker came home. In the summer of 1998, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome recommended that Father Baker’s earthly remains be transferred from nearby Holy Cross Cemetery into the Basilica itself. On a brilliant March morning, the casket of the Padre of the Poor, carried by eight men who were raised by Father Baker himself, was placed in a sarcophagus within the Grotto Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. It is estimated that more than 6,000 people stood in line to pay respect to Father Baker before his grave was sealed one last time. Today, hundreds of people visit weekly to pray for and offer thanks to the saintly founder of the OLV Institutions.
Our Lady of Victory Basilica