"His Legacy Continues" Overview:

  • Father Baker's legacy of caring for those in need did not die with him in 1936.
  • His Cause for Canonization began in 1987. He earned the title of Servant of God that year and was named Venerable in 2011.
  • The "City of Charity" remains.
    • OLV Human Services continues his life-saving work with children and families, caring for 10-12,000 individuals each year.
    • OLV National Shrine & Basilica remains the region's "spiritual epicenter," welcoming tens of thousands of visitors each and every year.
      • The Shrine's Centennial Celebration runs until 2026, commemorating the century that has passed since construction began.
    • OLV Charities continues his innovative fund- and friend-raising work, reahcing out to an international donor base of 50,000+ individuals annually. 

FATHER BAKER'S STORY - His Legacy Continues

Father Baker’s legacy of compassion and caring for those in need of spiritual, emotional and physical strength continues to this day in a variety of ways.


Cause for Canonization

In the early days of 1987, Bishop Edward Head, announced that the Diocese of Buffalo had gathered up all of the proper documentation required to begin Father Baker’s cause and was going to formally submit him as a candidate for sainthood.  Ten months later, on October 7th – the Feast of Our Lady of Victory – the Vatican declared Father Baker a “Servant of God.”

In 1998, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome recommended that Father Baker’s remains be moved into OLV National Shrine & Basilica from nearby Holy Cross Cemetery. The next year, on March 10, his coffin was unearthed and re-interred within the shrine.  This was done to increase people’s awareness of the humble priest as his gravesite at the cemetery was far less known and visited than the wondrous OLV Basilica.

A few years later, work on what is known as Father Baker’s positio, a book that includes his writings and an official summary of his life and values, was completed and sent to Rome for examination. On January 14, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI approved its contents, bestowing upon Father Baker the title of “Venerable Nelson Baker.”  A special Mass to celebrate was held on March 19th of that year, the anniversary of his ordination.

For more information on Father Baker’s Cause and how you can assist, click here.

His “City of Charity”

While our world has changed so much since Father Baker’s death in 1936, one thing has not: the organizations that have evolved from his “City of Charity” still thrive, continuing his legacy of caring for those in need.

  • OLV Human Services. While the infant home, orphanage, and protectory no longer exist, many of their programs continue today through OLV Human Services (OLVHS). A recognized leader in behavioral health services for children, adults, and families, OLVHS does as its founder did decades ago: help the community’s neediest members. Its programs include:
    • Outpatient and residential mental health services
    • Special Education and Early Intervention programs
    • Services for individuals with developmental disabilities
    • Home and community-based services for children and families
    • Foster care programming
    • A community and special-needs dental clinic

For more information, check out www.olvhs.org.


  • OLV National Shrine & Basilica.  Welcoming tens of thousands of first-time and repeat visitors each year, the magnificent OLV National Shrine & Basilica never disappoints. The love and devotion to the Blessed Mother are obvious, as the stories of the Gospel are told through paintings and sculpture. Those who enter its sacred doors are eager to find peace of spirit and/or mind, as well as learn more about Father Baker, his legacy and his Cause for Canonization.

All are welcome to take part in its Centennial Celebration, a five-year commemoration (2021-26) that honors the 100 years that have passed since the Shrine’s construction began.

OLV also boasts a vibrant parish and elementary school. At the heart of all activities is a dedication to the liturgy and sacraments, as well as devotion to the Blessed Mother and Father Nelson Baker.

For more information, check out www.olvbasilica.org.


  • OLV Charities. Father Baker often wondered how all the bills would get paid. However, his prayers to Our Lady of Victory were answered time and again, and he always found creative ways to raise money. Today, Father Baker's fundraising program continues at OLV Charities. Millions of dollars are donated each year to support its mission partners, OLV Human Services and OLV National Shrine & Basilica.

Donors contribute in a variety of ways. Letters and emails are regularly sent to update donors on the work happening on OLV’s campus. Benefactors participate in donor clubs, attend events, and contribute through planned-giving vehicles such as wills, annuities, and gifts of stock, bonds, or real estate.

For more information, check out www.olvcharities.org.

< Previous Chapter: A Hero Until the End