Sister Irene Mary Pryle: Serving a school, supporting a community

Sister Irene Mary Pryle

For nearly 40 years, Sister Irene Mary Pryle has served not only the Our Lady of Hope/St. Luke school community but also the Dundalk, Maryland community.

“We’ve always felt a responsibility to the community,” said the school principal. “The community has supported us, so we support the community.”

That support includes more than just educating the children who live in the area. On a recent Monday, students held a service day giving back in any way they could. Younger students helped put together kits for military service members overseas and other children made sandwiches to distribute locally. And even the youngest kindergartners pitched in by making cards.

“We support the community through tangible things like food collections, and we participate in a lot of contests, the Knights of Columbus “Keep Christ in Christmas” poster contest and we participate in Fox45’s “Champions of Courage” and for the last 3 years we’ve had a finalist.

Sister Irene Mary sees herself as a continuation of the SSND legacy at Our Lady of Hope. The sisters have been with the school since 1954. She taught at the school for three years in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s but returned for good in 1980. Many other staff members have been with the school just as long.

“I have a very strong commitment to the Dundalk community. The faculty has been here a long time, 30 years is nothing, but there is that same commitment,” she said. “The families here are hard-working, generous, and they’re supportive. They make every day a joy to be with them.”

The school not only gives back to the community also to aging sisters at Villa Asusmpta in Baltimore. Each March the school community comes together for a Bingo extravaganza.

“If you ask anyone about the best and biggest and craziest bingo, they will tell you it’s our bingo,” Sister Irene said. “It’s a whole parish/community event. People donate all of the things the sisters could use such as stamps, towels, and candy.”       

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