My church and the most beautiful church (basilica) I have ever been in ... and I have traveled the world.This is the legacy of Father Baker for if you say Our Lady of Victory or Father Bakers, everyone knows you are talking about one and the same church.Nelson Baker, born 1842 was baptized Lutheran but he enjoyed attending church with his devout Catholic mother and at age 10 he was baptized Catholic. When he was young he worked the family store, then he served in the army during the American Civil War and returning, open up a feed and grain store with a partner but the church kept calling to him and at age 27, he entered the seminary and excelled. Then, at 29, he became gravely ill and was sick for a full year before recovering and eventually took his vows at age, 34. His first assignment was to Father Hines at the Limestone Hill orphanage and protectory. They were deep in debt and falling further so he asked to leave.After one year, the bishop reassigned Father Baker back to Limestone Hill to be Father Hines replacement. He jumped right in this time. The first to visit him were the many creditors. He worked a deal with all of them by emptying out every penny of his own savings and promising the rest to come. Then he began to write letters. Every night he would hand-write hundreds of letters and then send them to post masters all across the country asking them to deliver his letters to any charitable Catholic women and their organizations. In the letters he asked that they send $,25 yearly dues on behalf of the boys in his care. This was a great success. In a few years time, all the debts were paid and he had started saving for what was to become The City of CharityNext came one of his miracles. One of his largest debts was heating bills for all the buildings and church. He prayed over this and a gas deposit was found which is still being used for heating and cooking for all the buildings, even today.Then in 1908, he began his new project, building a home for unwed mothers. Here, women could come and either stay and deliver their babies or bring their new born infants and leave them, no questions asked. At the entrance of the home, a crib and blanket was left 24 hours a day so that a woman could come and leave her child during the night.Next came a maternity hospital in 1919 which was eventually converted to a 275 bed General Hospital.And in 1921, he was able to finally start the project you see here. Our Lady of Victory Basilica. Father Baker was 79 years old. And by May of 1926, this church was dedicated and true to Father Baker, not a penny was owed. By October of the same year, it was designated as one of the two basilicas in the United States.The exterior of the church was constructed of pure white marble. The large dome was covered in copper which turned to a green patina. There are two Colonnades with statues of children atop each. The East Colonnade has a sister leading the children representing the Sisters of Saint Joseph who staff the school and homes of charity. The West Colonnade has Father Baker amid the children which came to a great surprise to him when it was revealed. The interior has 40 different kinds of marble. The altar has a 9 foot 1200 lb statue made of rare carrara marble of the Blessed Mother with her young son Jesus. The statue is surrounded by four swirled, rare, red marble columns atop of each which stands an Angel holding up the gold crucifix. The pews themselves are made from African mahogany. And the Stations of the Cross are each carved from one block of white marble. These life size statues took 14 years to sculpt. And it is believed that there are 1500 to 2500 angels in and around the church. Father Baker wanted you to be able to see an angel no matter where you looked because even though this church was dedicated to the Blessed Mother he wanted to remind everyone that this church was truly built for the glory of God.