Jane Holmes Dixon, 75, who became a priest in her late 40s and was the second female bishop in the Episcopal Church, has died.

The Diocese of Washington confirmed that Mrs. Dixon died early Christmas morning at her Washington home.

She served as bishop pro tempore of the Washington Diocese in 2001 and 2002. Her tenure included a standoff with a parish whose rector refused to recognize female clergy. She filed a federal lawsuit against the pastor that was resolved in her favor.

Mrs. Dixon was a stay-at-home mother when she enrolled at Virginia Theological Seminary at age 40. She became the pastor of a church in Laurel, Md., in 1982. She was elected bishop suffragan, the second-highest rank among bishops, for the Washington Diocese in 1992. - AP