Venerable Monsignor Nelson Baker (1842–1936) built an iconic reputation through his supervision of St. Joseph Orphan Asylum and St. John’s Protectory, and his establishment of an infant home for unwed mothers in Lackawanna, New York, just south of Buffalo. For more than fifty years, Baker, who always preferred the more familiar title of Father Baker, served thousands of male youth, young mothers, and their children through a ministry of outreach and compassion. His institutions, locally known as the “Second Holy City,” educated, trained in trades, and gave proper religious formation to orphans and wayward boys who had no other place to go. Well known in his day, both locally through his work, and nationally through his two chief organs, the Annals and the Victorian, his work and holiness have been noted through his elevation to the ranks of “venerable” by Pope Benedict XVI in January 2011. His legacy remains today through Our Lady of Victory Homes of Charity and Baker Victory Services, as well as the Basilica of Our Lady of Victory.


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