When asked to recall Father Nelson Baker, many describe a man who was a protector of people and a strong advocate for the rights of the disadvantaged. Others refer to him as a visionary and a shrewd businessman who was able to turn even the most desperate of situations around. All remember him as a spiritual leader of incredible faith with a steadfast devotion to the Blessed Mother as Our Lady of Victory.
"Legacy of Victory: Remembering Father Baker" looks at the life and accomplishments of this extraordinary man whose charity and service to others continues to impact the lives of thousands.
Born in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1842, Nelson Baker experienced a great deal during his long life. He was the son of a Catholic mother and a Lutheran father, raised in a thriving new city full of ethnic and religious divisions. He was a Civil War soldier whose duty included a journey to New York City during the violent draft riots. He was a successful businessman and co-owner of a prosperous feed and grain business. He was also a deeply devout Catholic who longed for meaning in his life.
Nelson entered Our Lady of Angels Seminary at Niagara University, N.Y., at the age of 27 to study for the priesthood. As a seminarian, he traveled to Paris and visited the Shrine of Notre Dame des Victoires, a pilgrimage that would shape the course of his life and, in effect, shape the lives of many others. Known as the "Padre of the Poor," Father Baker built institutions for homeless children, unwed mothers and the sick in his community of Lackawanna, N.Y. While in his 80s, he built a beautiful basilica, later designated a national shrine, in the name of his beloved Our Lady of Victory.
Daybreak TV Productions’ crew used a high definition camera to capture footage at Basilique de Notre Dame des Victoires, Paris, France, and Our Lady of Victory Basilica and National Shrine, Lackawanna, N.Y. The documentary includes historically significant photos, as well as archival photos and rare film of Father Baker and the children in his care. Interviews with people who knew and were helped by Father Baker bring to the documentary the spirit of this man’s extraordinary life and work.
The life of Monsignor Nelson H. Baker is currently under review at the Vatican for canonization.
Short Clip taken from Legacy of Victory, a 90 min. documentary about the life and works of Fr. Nelson Baker.