He must know something we do not yet know, because Father Paul Burkard, head of Our Lady of Victory Institutions has recently created a museum which replicates the personal quarters where Father Nelson Baker lived, worked and slept. There is also a duplicate of the boys’ dormitory where the beloved priest housed his orphan boys for so many years. His books, vestments and personal articles are also on display here.
Could it be that Father Burkard is preparing for the day which some feel is coming soon when Father Nelson Baker will be declared a saint. It does seem to be an indication. Admission is free to visit the museum which is in the lower level of Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna, New York.
An article in The Buffalo News on Sunday, December 19, 2010 retells the story of Father Baker drilling a gas well on the property of the Institutions since heating the huge complex was getting expensive. Although the property had previously been declared dry, Father Baker went ahead and struck a new natural gas underground pool. Even today, 100 years later, the well continues to supply gas to Our Lady of Victory Institutions. You can access this article by clicking here.
There are many indications that Father Baker’s Cause for Canonization is moving ahead. In 1987, he was named Servant of God by Pope John Paul II. This is the first step in the long procedure required before a person can be declared a saint. In 1999, Father Baker’s remains were removed from Holy Cross Cemetery to Our Lady of Victory Basilica so that visitors could pray to him in that magnificent structure. Upon the removal of his remains, it was discovered that Father Baker’s blood and body fluids that were buried with him in a vial in 1936 had remained liquid. Officials of the diocese believe that this could only be attributed to natural causes.
Many persons have come forward with tales of miracles that they attribute to Father Baker. Some of these have been presented to the Vatican for investigation.
Another indication that we may be getting close to an announcement of progress in the canonization process is the unveiling of a life-sized bronze statue of Father Baker in the recently renovated St. Joseph Garden at the Basilica. This occurred on October 7, 2010. The statue had been planned for some time, but the process was moved along more quickly due to a donation from a family who has great devotion to Father Baker. The statue is a tribute to the work of Father Baker who built not only the Basilica, but also an infant home, a boys’ orphanage and protectory, a home for unwed mothers, a hospital, a nurse’s home, and two schools. There are still living today some of “Father Baker’s Boys” who can relate stories of his good deeds toward them.
These meanderings of mine are just a sense that we may all hear very soon about the canonization of Father Nelson H. Baker. A previous article of mine about Father Baker can be accessed here.