Ms. Baker, Ms. Bond bring new energy to Campus Ministry


Staff photo

Ms. Bond (left) and Ms. Baker joined the St. Pius X family this summer, and they both say the students are their favorite part of the job.

Madeline Randa, Staff Writer

Have you ever wondered who the ladies are that give out candy in the front hallway, usually accompanied with a cheerful greeting and big smile on their faces? The answer is two of our newest staff members, Campus Minister Ms. Susan Baker and Associate Campus Minister Ms. Elizabeth Bond. 

They were hired over the summer during a hectic time of transition for the school, and Ms. Baker said they are “still trying to figure out” what their specific responsibilities are, but so far they’re having tons of fun doing it. 

Look out for this dynamic duo as they revamp and reinvigorate Campus Ministry with new ideas for pilgrimages, retreats, and ways to connect with the students. 

Ms. Baker

Ms. Baker grew up in Peachtree City, Georgia; yes the place with the golf carts. She was baptized Catholic, but her family stopped going to Mass when she was young and she wasn’t raised in the Catholic Church. Her childhood wasn’t easy, and she struggled in school with various learning disabilities.

“I got made fun of a lot. I got into fights because I realized people didn’t make fun of kids that hit,” she said. “A lot of anger, a lot of confusion, a lot of frustration.”

Her dad began working with her more academically in middle school, but during her freshman year of high school, “I wasn’t in a good place,” she said.

One day she turned to her dad and told him, “It’s like there is a hole in my heart, and we’ve got to figure it out or it will get ugly.” 

That Sunday, her dad took her to church for the first time in quite a while. During Communion, she remembers thinking, “I don’t know what this is, but I want it.” 

“It wasn’t that I wanted to do what everyone else was doing or go up and get a ‘cracker,’” she said. “It was something deeper.”

She and her brother went through the RCIA program (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) soon after, and she officially came into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil when she was a freshman in high school.

Ms. Baker described her faith journey as “fighting through all of the anger and the negativity to logically connect to God to find the joy, to find the peace, to find the happiness, to find the strength to become a warrior of God.”

She went on to attend the University of West Georgia and earn a Bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in economics and American history. She also has a certificate in Youth Ministry from the University of Dayton.

During Communion, she remembers thinking, ‘I don’t know what this is, but I want it.’

She’s been a youth minister for 15 years, the last 10 at St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church in Jonesboro. She said that last year was “ready to move on to something else” but didn’t want to work at another parish and rebuild another youth ministry program.

When the Campus Minister position at St. Pius opened last spring, she applied and was eventually offered the job. 

“I felt in my heart that this was the right place,” she said. “Something different, but still ministry, still working with kids, but in a school setting, and that was for me.”

So far, she absolutely loves being a Golden Lion and working with students every day. 

“It sounds so cheesy, but you guys [the students] really are the best part for me,” she said. “It’s walking this walk with you guys, hearing about your experience and what you’re dealing with and your thoughts and what’s great in your life and what’s not good in your life because that makes me a better person. It helps me see the world through your eyes, not just mine.”

In her free time, Ms. Baker enjoys watching sports and movies.

“I’m a nerd,” she said. “I’m all about Star Wars, Marvel, and DC.”

She’s also a certified personal trainer, and her PR on the leg press is an impressive 750 pounds!

Ms. Bond 

Ms. Bond grew up here in Atlanta and attended Johns Creek High School. She was baptized and brought up Catholic, but like most kids she disliked going to church as a child. 

“I was that kid that would kick and scream in the parking lot and hated going to church,” she said.

She had a “reversion because of my own personal conversion” early in high school when she began attending retreats with her parish, Saint Brigid Catholic Church.

“Retreats changed my life,” she said. “They truly did.”

During her sophomore year of high school, there was a bad ice storm that affected the location of an upcoming retreat and all of her friends backed out.

“My mom is not the kind of person to pay for something and then not make me go,” she said. “So I went alone with none of my friends. And on that retreat, I met my closest friends that I still talk to to this day.”

Throughout high school she continued to stay active in her parish and was very involved in music ministry. She went on to attend Georgia College, but after two years she felt called to take a gap year and do full-time missionary work with LifeTeen in north Georgia leading retreats and summer camps. 

After returning to college, this time at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, she traveled across the country with different worship bands to participate in big conferences and retreats.

Ms. Bond most recently lived in Nashville where she was working on her Master’s degree in social work and serving as the intake coordinator and clinical therapist at a psychiatric residential treatment facility for teenage boys. 

She was unable to share her strong faith with the boys at the treatment facility because it is a secular setting, but God still found a way to make Himself present.

It was really the students that won me over.

“There were times when I really wanted to tell them about all that the Lord does, and all the Lord heals,” she said. “And there were times when I found the boys would actually tell me about those things, without me having to even mention it.” 

She found her way to St. Pius working as a part-time campus minister and teaching two sophomore theology classes each day because of the persuasive powers of her friend, former St. Pius Chaplain Fr. Michael Bremer. 

“I had never thought that I wanted to be a teacher or do any type of campus ministry, but I had experience in ministry,” she said. “So he was like, ‘Well, why don’t you just throw in an application?’ I was like, alright, so I applied for the hybrid position to do campus ministry and teach, and I got the job.”

Ms. Bond had another offer for a job in Nashville, but she said she made her decision after meeting a few students at St. Pius.

“It was really the students that won me over,” she said.

Like Ms. Baker, Ms. Bond also enjoys playing and watching sports. 

“I’m super passionate about athletics. I actually started a mental health wellness program at Franciscan for college athletes,” she said. “I played soccer, I played tennis, I swam, I played golf.”

She’s also a self-described ”theater nerd” who enjoys music (especially country), puzzles, board games, crocheting, and knitting (“I know, it’s like a grandma thing.”)

Ms. Baker and Ms. Bond are incredibly grateful and enthusiastic about their new roles at St. Pius . Swing by their offices in Campus Ministry to say hello, and of course, grab some candy.