1933 – 2006 (October 12)
Stephen Joseph La Rosa was born on May 23, 1933 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, one of two sons and one daughter of Stephen LaRosa and Louise DiSanto. He was baptized on October 10, 1933 at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Church, Philadelphia, and attended the city’s public elementary and high schools, graduating in 1951. He then served in the military as a member of the Armed Ordnance Corps and left the service in 1955 to attend St. Joseph's College, where he obtained a BS in Psychology in 1959. He entered the Vice Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel as a novice in September, 1959, at Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, New York, and professed simple vows on September 10, 1960. He professed solemn vows on September 10, 1963. He then went to Villanova University for course work in Philosophy, and then, in 1961, to Augustinian College, Washington, DC, for his theological studies. He was ordained to the priesthood on January 30, 1965 at Saint Thomas of Villanova Church, Villanova, Pennsylvania.
Father LaRosa’s first assignment was to Saint Augustine Preparatory School as teacher. In 1967 he was appointed the school's headmaster and he held that office until 1982. During that time the school grew from 90 to 230 students, added a sports complex, chapel and more classrooms and expanded academic courses and sports programs. In 1982, Father Steve was elected Vice Provincial of the Vice Province, and continued his work at the school. In 1990, he once again assumed the office of Prior Provincial, when Richard DeFulgentiis, OSA, his successor had died. He held that office until 1995 when the Vice Province was merged with the Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova. Father Steve then returned to full-time work at the school as its President until 1998, when he became President Emeritus and Director of the Alumni Association, offices which he held until the time of his death. During his many years at the Prep he worked to create an academic environment that encouraged study and intellectual challenge, as well as a Christian environment in which young men learned the impact of Gospel values on career and life decisions.
Father Steve also served the Diocese of Camden for many years as a consultant, as a member of the Diocesan Priests' Council and as the Vicar for Religious Men. He was well known throughout the six counties of southern New Jersey that make up the Diocese of Camden.
Father Steve was known for his exuberant spirit, his outgoing and friendly graciousness, his dedication to the Gospel and to the ideals of Christian education. He worked to draw people together into a community of service and love.
Father Steve moved to Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova, after a diagnosis of cancer and deterioration of health that warranted greater monitoring of his health. On October 12th, the day that he entered into Hospice Care at the monastery he passed over to the Lord, with family members, friars, hospice and nursing staff present. He was 73 years old.