DOMINICAN SISTER’S HISTORY
In 2013, our dearest principal, Sister Ellen Kelly passed away. However, since then Mrs. Therese C. Chester Williams took over as Principal, today almost 55 years later, families and the community at large continue to gain the benefits of Sister Ellen Kelly’s vision for Juniper School, a place to give the students a Catholic education, not only in theory but in practice.
The Dominican story begins more than 800 years ago with Dominic de Guzman, born in 1170 in Caleruega, Spain. Filled with a deep spirit of prayer and a passion for preaching, Dominic gave birth to a new religious order: the Order of Preachers (OP).
Dominic's wisdom and vision enabled him to integrate the best of the contemplative and apostolic life. He called his followers to be rooted in and shaped by the Word of God through personal and liturgical prayer, study, and life shared in community. He gifted the Church with women and men committed to proclaiming the truth of Jesus wherever they found themselves. Our Mission San Jose Dominican story begins more than 140 years ago. Three young Dominican Sisters were sent in 1876 from Brooklyn, New York, to San Francisco, California, to begin a school for German-speaking immigrants. Sister Maria Pia Backes, the superior, was 24 years old. Her companions were Sister Salesia Fichtner (21) and Sister Amanda Bednartz (17).
By the time of her death, 48 years later, Mother Pia had firmly established the new Congregation of the Queen of the Holy Rosary: the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose. Her devotion to the Gospel, her love for the liturgy, and her desire to bring Catholic education to youth, especially to the poor, shaped the spirit of this new family. Today 350 Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose live the rich tradition of the Dominican family with vitality, enthusiastically responding to the challenge of Christian education in California, Oregon, Arizona, Mexico, and Germany. The vision of Mother Pia continues. The Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose are religious women energized by the love of our Lord, God, committed to building communities of faith in a variety of educational ministries, women who love deeply and serve generously. They are women who make a difference.