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Rev Fr Francis Aloysius Baker

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Rev Fr Francis Aloysius Baker

  • Birth 30 Mar 1820 Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland, USA
  • Death 4 Apr 1865 New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
  • Burial Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
  • Memorial ID 92437122

Fr. Francis A. Baker, CSP, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, into a prominent Methodist family. His father was a prominent physician and University of Maryland Professor of Medicine. The young Francis graduated from Princeton in 1839. Soon thereafter he was received into the Episcopal Church and was ordained a Deacon in February 1845. Baker seemed destined for a career as a respected Anglican clergyman.

His encounters with Fr. Augustine Hewit, CSsR, the writings of Archbishop Francis Kendrick (of Baltimore) and his study of the Oxford Movement persuaded Baker to convert to Catholicism in 1853. His decision created quite a stir at the time.

He was ordained as a Redemptorist priest three years later, on September 21, 1856. Fr. Baker joined four other Redemptorist converts – including Fr. Isaac Hecker who would later found the Paulist Fathers – in a mission band that first toured the South and later the northern United States. This turned out to be one of the most pleasant experiences in Baker's whole priestly career. When Hecker and the other members of the mission band began the process of leaving the Redemptorists and forming a new community, Baker joined the project.

Once the Paulist Fathers were recognized as a new religious community with the parish of Saint Paul the Apostle in New York as its headquarters, Father Baker spent his time carrying out parish duties and participating in missions throughout the eastern United States. He was a zealous missionary and carried out this ministry with enthusiasm.

The strains of both jobs took its toll on Baker's fragile health. As early as 1861 throat ailments slowed his activities and when, in early 1865, he contracted typhoid fever which had been creeping through the parish. This developed into pneumonia and three doctors were not able to save him.

He died quietly in the presence of family and parish friends at the age of 45, barely seven years after the founding of the Paulist Fathers. One respected New York priest commented that "the best priest in New York is dead." He is buried at Old St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York.



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  • Created by: Paulist Archives
  • Added: 23 Jun 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 92437122
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Rev Fr Francis Aloysius Baker (30 Mar 1820–4 Apr 1865), Find A Grave Memorial no. 92437122, citing Saint Patrick's Old Cathedral Churchyard, Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA ; Maintained by Paulist Archives (contributor 47227615) .