Mother Maria Pia Backes was the founder of not only the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose, but also of St. Elizabeth Elementary School in 1893. Mother Pia’s mission was to help “the poor, the young, and the vulnerable.” Twenty-five years ago, a program began at St. Elizabeth that is now named after her, and this couldn’t be a more perfect fit. One of the crowning jewels of the school, the Mother Pia Special Needs Program enables children to learn –– emotionally, academically, socially –– when they need individual attention.
With many personnel changes through the years, there are some remarkable constants in the Mother Pia Program, one of which is that it has been financially self-sustained through its 25 years. The children and families have never had to pay additional fees for the services provided.
The future of the program is positive and hopeful. St. Elizabeth Principal Lynne Kennedy Mullen exclaims: “Our Mother Pia Program is a truly outstanding part of our school, which makes Catholic education accessible to learners at all levels. The program exemplifies our commitment to treating each child as a unique gift of God.”