Flights of Faith: Theology teacher Alicia Baehr chooses to face trials on her journeys to grow one’s faith


Mary Cate Dunn

Alicia Baehr stands next to her collection of religious souvenirs

Mary Cate Dunn, Contributer

Theology teacher Alicia Baehr is constantly bringing life to her classroom through fun activities and lively conversations with her class. The way she remains cheerful tends to come from her faith, but how she has grown her beliefs through her passions of traveling and making tough sacrifices is the question. 

Baehr grew up in a Catholic household, but chose to make her faith personal while in high school. She was dealing with questions of living her life out according to her faith or leaving it behind in college.

”I was really faced with the decision junior year where I was like, ‘Am I going to practice my faith on my own in college?’” Baehr said. “It wasn’t until my junior year that I decided that, yes, this is important to me, and I believe that God is true.”

From that point forward, she knew that her faith was something that she would not be forced to grow but choose to nurture. When going to college, she also soon realized it was something she could develop with her passions.

“I’ve always loved to travel,” Baehr said. “I just grew up always loving to explore, and in college, I started by studying abroad in Austria. When you’re studying abroad at a Catholic school, they will set up pilgrimages for you, so that’s what I went on.”

A pilgrimage is a journey that people can go on in a foreign place to go look for something in themselves or the world, and for Baehr this would end up being God.

From this pilgrimage, a love for going on these foreign holy adventures sprung inside her, leading to many more crazy experiences and difficult tasks.

Baehr recalls one of the most difficult of those pilgrimages being walking the Camino across Spain. 

“It took me 31 days to walk across Spain, and it was just really, really hard,” Baehr said. “Every day you’re walking 16 to 20 miles, and you’re in a lot of pain. But there’s something really beautiful about doing something hard.”

With blisters on her feet, a case of food poisoning and a virus towards the end of her trip, fighting through the hardships of the voyage was a laborious task. However, the end of the trip was a impactful reward. 

“At the end we went to confession, and the priest gave me some awesome advice.” Baehr said. “It tied my whole experience together, that this is the way life goes a lot. There are a lot of hard but beautiful things that you can learn from, and I grew a lot with learning those two things.”

Inspiration and truths of life are just some of the treasures that Baehr has managed to take away from these pilgrimages. Described by Baehr as marvelous religious monuments, enjoyable activities on the holy lands, and bonding in relationships is just a few of her others.

On another one of her vocational trips, Baehr shared some of her fun experiences. 

“I remember we had a dance party on the boat in the Sea of Galilee,” Baehr said.

 A dance party wasn’t just the only experience she had on that boat

 “We had a reflection, and it was really beautiful.” Baehr said. “But there was one moment on that boat trip that I looked over the sea and recall the story of Peter and hear God say, ‘Go out into the deep water, I’ve got you, I’ve got your life. You don’t need to worry about whatever it is I was worried about.’”

Another traveling event Baehr experienced was a boat filled with ash sprinkling incense across a whole massive cathedral. Others included praying at the tomb of Jesus, taking on pilgrimages for the support of a friend, and shells she collected on a journey.

Of the places she visited, an exclusive list included France, Jerusalem, Poland, Mexico and Israel. 

Because of all the unique experiences, some with the intention of patience with others being climatic, each adventure came with its own unique meaning and significance on her spiritual life.

Overall, thanks to her religious travels, Baehr and her relationship with God have been forever changed for the best, and she now shares her love for God everyday through her profession.

“It’s hard to say which trip was my favorite, because every place that I visited touched me in a different way,” Baehr said. “That was the cool thing about each pilgrimage, that it was tailored for is what is going on in your life, and I now get to bring each lesson that was learned on each one into the rest of my life.”