HAMDEN – Mother M. Rosalia Sosso of Hamden, former superior general of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, died on July 15 at Sacred Heart Manor.
Mother Rosalia was born on May 21, 1915, in Pittsburgh, Pa., a daughter of the late Antonio and Civita Schiavetta Sosso. She entered the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in New Haven on Aug. 28, 1935, professed her first vows in New Haven Aug. 24, 1938, and professed her perpetual vows in New Haven Aug. 26, 1944.
Mother Rosalia served her community for almost 75 years, 41 of which were in leadership. She began her ministry in education, teaching in New York and at Sacred Heart Academy. She was principal at St. Anthony School in New Haven, and Sacred Heart Private School in the Bronx, N.Y.. She also served as the mistress of the aspirants who were in formation in the congregation during her nine years of teaching at Sacred Heart Academy.
In 1960, Mother Rosalia was appointed as the fifth superior for the United States Province of her order. She served in that capacity until she was elected in 1968 as the fifth superior general and moved to the generalate in Rome. She was re-elected superior general for two more consecutive terms from 1974-80 and 1980-86.
As superior general, Mother Rosalia oversaw the expansion of the worldwide ministries of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart. She spearheaded the translations of the writings of the foundress, Mother Clelia Merloni, and guided the congregation through the changes after the Second Vatican Council.
After completing her third term as superior general, Mother Rosalia ministered at Rocca di Papa, a spirituality center in Rome, until she retired to Sacred Heart Manor in 1999. She then concentrated on a ministry of prayer.
Mother Rosalia earned a Bachelor of Science degree, cum laude, in English from Fordham University in New York City.
She was predeceased by her parents; her brothers Anthony, Frank and Bernard; and her sisters, Antoinette Sullivan and Mary Ferraro. She is survived by a sister, Anne Paolino, and many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews and her religious sisters.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on July 18 in the chapel at Sacred Heart Manor. Burial followed in All Saints Cemetery in North Haven.