Each year, the Religious Brothers of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles come together to honor one brother for his service and dedication to his ministry. This year, our own Brother Stephen de la Rosa, O.H. was honored for his religious commitment as a Brother of Saint John of God and for his faithful ministry in caring for sick and the elderly.
Brother Stephen was honored at a Mass and Reception at Saint John of God Retirement and Care Center in Los Angeles on March 6, 2016. Most Reverend Alexander Salazar, Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, the principal celebrant, reflected in his homily that, “There is a hands-on role that Brother Stephen has been a part of in serving directly the patients and residents as a nurse, which is a beautiful vocation of his professed life and we ask God to continue to bless him with many more years to continue to serve the sick and elderly”.
Born in El Paso, Texas, Brother Stephen was raised with the values of hard work and caring for his fellow neighbors. Growing up, he cared for his elderly neighbor; Mr. Vosa, which was the beginning of his own mission of “doing good for others”. After graduating from high school, he began working as an orderly at the County Hospital in El Paso. He wrote to the Brothers of Saint John of God and entered the Order in 1969. He completed his nursing degree from St. Louis University and went on to complete two master’s degrees; one in applied spiritual theology from Mount Saint Mary’s University and another in bioethics from Loyola Marymount University.
Brother Stephen worked as a nurse in the Coronary Care Observation Unit at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles and at Saint Mary Desert Valley Hospital in Apple Valley. He eventually became the Director of Nurses at Saint Mary’s and for a short time at Saint John of God Retirement and Care Center. His nursing career was put on hold as he became more involved in leadership roles. Brother Stephen was elected as Provincial Superior for 2 separate terms that spanned over 15 years. During that time, he was also asked to work on several committees for the Hospitaller Order and the Catholic Health Association.
Today, he currently serves as the Provincial Secretary of the Province and board member for the Brothers’ healthcare ministries. He also has the easy task of heading the Hospitaller Foundation, which he admits is a learning experience everyday. But, Brother Stephen finds his greatest passion in helping and educating others. He is the current director of the School of Hospitality, which is an ongoing formation program for the Brothers and Coworkers of the U.S.A. Province. Brother Stephen also finds time to visit the residents by leading a spiritual reflection group each Friday. He is reminded of his vow of Hospitality through this reflection group as he puts aside all the events happening around him to be there and listen to what the residents have to say. Many of the residents are suffering from lost of their independence, family, physical and mental abilities but through these reflection groups, Brother Stephen is able to redirect their feelings of lost into something meaningful and educational.
During the reception at the Founders’ Hall, Brother Pablo Lopez, O.H., Provincial gave his welcoming remarks and extended on behalf of the Brothers, Coworkers, Residents and Benefactors of this Province a heartfelt congratulations to Brother Stephen on a well-deserved honor.
Brother Stephen was grateful to the Council of Religious Brothers for bestowing this honor and said, “All of our (Religious Brothers’) ministries, whether its health care, education or social service, strive to encourage people to grow and become better individuals, which is the important role of being a Brother and to do the work of God”.