Sister Mary Rosina was born in Gilroy, California and was christened Camille Louise. She is the middle daughter of three girls born to Rose and Chinto Conrotto. She remembers her childhood fondly, “My sisters and I enjoyed country living, riding bikes, play in the orchards and at the creek.”
She and her two sisters attended St. Mary Elementary School, and she had the unique distinction of being in kindergarten for two years. She recalls, “I especially loved being in kindergarten the second time around because I knew answers to all the questions, and the lyrics to all the songs we sang.”
Upon graduation from the eighth grade, Sister Rosina attended Gilroy High and enjoyed the opportunity of making new friends and learning a variety of subjects. “Those happy years simply flew by,” she says.
She always knew she wanted to be a teacher and enjoyed playing school with her sisters and cousins. She loved her fifth grade teacher, Sister Mary Bernardine, who exemplified holiness, wholeness, humor and kindness. Camille knew she wanted to be just like that when she grew up. In her senior year, she broached the idea of entering the convent at the end of the school year, but her parents asked her to wait for at least two years. She was disappointed, but then encouraged when Mother Mary Olivia Hargadon told her, “Do as your parents wish. God will wait.”
So off she went to San Jose State University, majoring in Education.
Following two years at State, on July 1, 1959, she entered the convent at 281 Masonic Avenue. After vows the newly professed Sisters moved to the Motherhouse in San Francisco. During her first year in the Juniorate, she was assigned to teach the fifth/sixth grade combination at Cathedral Elementary School. Unexpectedly, on March 15 of that year, she was transferred to teach the seventh grade at St. John Vianney School in San Jose and after one year at the elementary school level, she was assigned to teach at Presentation High School in San Francisco. In addition to teaching, she continued her education at the University of San Francisco and upon graduation, went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University.
After eleven years at the high school, in September of 1975 Sister Rosina was sent to Rome to participate in the ARC program (The Scriptural and Theological Foundations of Religious Life for Apostolic Religious Congregations). She was exposed to some of the most brilliant minds teaching in various universities in Rome and was afforded an opportunity to meet and learn from women religious from thirty-six congregations from all parts of the world
Upon returning from Rome, she was engaged in formation ministry and served as the congregation’s Director of Education. In 1980 Sister Rosina was elected to congregational leadership serving as a councillor. At the end of her term she became the assistant director of Presentation Center until 1990 when she was elected Congregational President. “My two terms as congregational president were what I considered, in addition to my formation ministry, my most sacred trust. Difficult decisions had to be made: closing our two high schools, San Francisco and Berkeley, and, returning our Booksin property to Presentation High School in San Jose.
“Also, wonderful decisions to be made: co-founding San Francisco SafeHouse; opening the Learning and Loving Education Center; being present at the official founding of the Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist and the official opening of Mission Santa Clara in Solola, Guatemala.
“And, they afforded me opportunities that I would not otherwise have had: visiting with our Sisters in their ministries and living situations; serving as a member of the council of the IPA and as president of the North American Conference of Presentation Sisters; representing our San Francisco Sisters at the centennial celebration of the Sisters in Pakistan. Truly, these were years of abundant blessings.”
After her time in congregational leadership, she accepted a position at Vallombrosa Retreat Center where she served as program director for five years and as interim director for three.
In 2010 Sister Rosina was again elected to congregational leadership and served as a councillor for six years. Currently she serves as the Director of the Office for Consecrated Life for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, a position she has held since 2009. At the March 10-13, 2022 General Chapter, she was elected to congregation leadership and to serve as president of the Sisters of the Presentation.
In summary she says, “Throughout my life, I have been blessed with two loving families – my birth family and my Presentation family. My life has been graced with fulfilling ministries, cherished friends and with a God who loves me unconditionally. I am reminded always that ‘the place where (you) I stand is holy ground.’” (Exodus 3:5)