Phyllis DiFuccia, SSJ, was born on August 13, 1947 in Erie, Pennsylvania. Her decision to enter religious life was confirmed at Mass on New Year’s Day after having been out all night at a party. She heard herself say: “Is this all there is?” She felt called to do “more,” she explains, and later entered the Sisters of St. Joseph from St. Peter Cathedral in Erie, on September 8, 1966. She professed her final vows on September 8, 1974.
Sister Phyllis graduated from Villa Maria Academy, Erie, 1965, and earned a BA degree in French from Villa Maria College, Erie, 1969; an MA in French from Middlebury College, Middlebury VT, 1973; and an MSOD in organization development from Loyola University, Chicago, IL, 1996.
Sister Phyllis taught French at Villa Maria Academy and served as its principal and later Administrator, 1968-1979, 1986-1990. She loved the faculty and students and says it was one of the best experiences of community she ever had. She later taught French at Villa Maria College, Erie, where she also served as Dean for Adult Learning, 1979-1983. Sister Phyllis also served in Union City, PA, where she ministered at Saint Teresa Parish and Maria House Projects, 1983-1986 and was the Director of Mission Effectiveness at Saint Vincent Health System, 1991-1994.
Sister Phyllis spent 18 years in Chicago, IL as an independent consultant specializing in participative processes and systems for various organizations. Some of her clients included: Loyola University Chicago, Anderson Consulting, and several religious congregations and parishes in the Chicago area. Ironically, it was while living in the busy city of Chicago that she learned the need for contemplation. “I was supported, challenged, and grew into the freedom of being myself,” she says of her time in the windy city.
Sister Phyllis served as a member of the first SSJ Leadership Team from 1999-2003 and was a member of the first and second research teams of the U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph who were responsible for translating the primitive documents of the Sisters of St. Joseph from French to English. Since 2012, she has ministered as the Vice President of Mission at St. Joseph Academy, Cleveland, OH.
Sister Phyllis plans on “moving wherever God leads,” as she moves forward in life. “It is God’s fidelity to me and my relationship with God that keeps me open and leads me on a path of transforming love.”