A FORMER Dundalk holy woman has made history by becoming the first woman in history to be made dean of St Mary’s Catherdeal in Limerick.
Reverend Sandra Pragnell, who took up her new ministry as Dean of Limerick, and Rector of Limerick city parish a fortnight ago says the people of Limerick have been “very welcoming and understanding” since her arrival.
To date, there have been 61 Deans of Limerick since the building of St Mary’s Cathedral in 1168.
“There is so much to learn but everyone is being very welcoming and very understanding,” said Rev Pragnell this week.
Originally from the south of England, Rev Pragnell has been in Ireland since 1994.
Rev Pragnell was in a cross boarder group of parishes based in Dundalk, North Louth and South Armagh prior to her appointment to Limerick.
Rev Pragnell is now residing at the deanery in Castletroy.
“Castletroy is about the only area I know – I have a lot to learn. I have to find my way around the city. It is going to take me time,” she said.
Bishop Trevor Williams performed the installation and institution service at St Mary’s Cathedral.
“The ceremony was really uplifting and to see so many people there from so many different parts of my life was wonderful,” said Rev Pragnell who loves animals, walking in the countryside and entertaining friends.
“The music was splendid and the cathedral was at its best – it looked superb. The people who I was speaking to who hadn’t been here before were very impressed with the whole evening,” she added.
Since her ordination in 2001, Rev Pragnell has received an MA in Pastoral Leadership for her thesis on Spirituality and the Older Person, involving an ecumenical case study of two west Dublin parishes.
At present she is studying for a Doctorate in Ministry at Milltown Institute in Dublin.