Baer and her husband, Harold, have three children, two of whom were adopted. Their youngest child came to them in a special way. “I was a Big Sister and she was my Little Sister and we got to adopt her,” said Baer.
Ever since Baer was in her mid-20s she’s been donating blood. “I’ve given over 18 gallons of blood. Most of the time I go to the Community Blood Center in Appleton. I try to give every eight weeks,” she said.
Since she has O negative blood, everyone can use it. “They said my blood had no antibodies in it and I could give it to the newborns. I was pro-life so I thought, ‘Wow, this is great,'” added Baer.
An incident that occurred 33 years ago set the stage for Baer’s most important volunteer work — teaching religious education. She had recently started praying more and getting closer to the Lord. Her youngest son came home from school one day with a Bible.
“I thought, I’m doing all this praying but I never pray with the Bible so I opened it up. It was like this little bud of mine was a rose opening up and I could not put the Bible down,” she said. “It was so interesting to me. I understood it — otherwise I had been afraid of it.”
She was so inspired that within a few months she started teaching religious education at St. Mary Parish. “I wanted other people to know the Lord like I know him. You teach children because grownups don’t want to hear about it.”
Your Catholic Neighbor
Name: Loretta Baer
Parish: St. Mary, Hilbert
Favorite saint: Jude
Words to live by: “What I’m doing, I do unto the Lord. I cannot do it without him.”
Nine years ago she expanded her teaching to St. Mary School in Hilbert and works with children in grades one through six every Thursday. By the time she drives from her home to the school or parish she said she’s “prayed up” and ready to go.
Praying is part of Baer’s daily routine. “I’m a prayer warrior. I pray a lot. I have a hand-written list otherwise I forget (everyone I want to pray for),” she said. “We have a prayer chain at church and I belong to that. Prayer is very important to me. I pray the rosary and I pray the Jabez prayer. It’s in Chronicles. I read from the Bible almost every day.”
For the past 28 years Baer has been the pro-life representative for her parish. She is also the treasurer of the Calumet County Right to Life, a job she’s held for 23 years. Baer also helps serve dinners for funerals and parish events. If she isn’t available to help she’s happy to bake bars for the dinner.
Even in her career as a homecare attendant, Baer has been helping people for the last 18 years. “I go into homes and I help people, mostly with daily cares.”
With all the things going on in Baer’s life, teaching will always be closest to her heart. “That will be the last volunteer work that I do. I’ll do it until I die. But I can’t do anything without our Lord’s help,” she said.
“The energy that he gives me to get all of this done every day is unbelievable. He has given me the courage and the strength. I always think that people should pray more. They can become close to our Lord too. That’s what happened to me when I started praying more.”