A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Sister Ema Konokono DOLC, Prayer Leader for Children

Sr Ema Konokono DOLC

Sr Ema Konokono DOLC

MM: Where were you born, Sister and when did you join the Daughters of Our Lady of Compassion?

Ema: I was born in Nukualofa Tonga, and was professed in the Home of Compassion in 1975.

MM: What launched you on your ministry of prayer with children?

Ema: In 2009 I attended a course led by Ruth Fowler from Australia in Wellington at Island Bay, The method from the World Community for Christian Meditation was presented along with resources (tapes); it had been used in Australian dioceses since 2006. I felt I would like to try it out.

MM: And what happened?

Ema: I contacted Celeste Hastings, Principal of Holy Cross School, who invited me into the school. To my surprise it just took off. Instantly the children responded and were really into it. I started with the new entrants for two minutes and worked right through the school room by room, until the year 8 children for 11 minutes. The elder children were great but are more shy than the little ones. Primary school children are naturally open to meditation in a structured setting.

MM: What is your method, Sister?

Ema: The children sit in a circle. We have a candle on the floor. In the first session we talk about what they understand by ‘meditation’. We all sit with straight backs and deep breaths. They close their eyes and we listen to a short tape. Then I lead them in prayer, and encourage them to listen to God in their hearts, and speak to God in their own way.

MM: And how is the session rounded off?

Ema: We share together what happened for them. I am amazed and delighted with their comments. e.g. “I felt Jesus holding my hand and walking along the beach”; Someone said the candle gives light and warmth “the wax is Jesus, and flame is the Holy Spirit.”

MM: What is your impression of the children’s idea of God?

Ema: A Father who cares, a joyful Father who loves us. Some speak of their own father as like a loving God; others don’t have fathers at home, but still can relate to God as a loving Parent.

MM: Do you get support from the teaching staff?

Ema: Total support. On my first visit the Principal takes me into the classrooms. The DRS works closely with me, and the classroom teacher usually stays and prays with us.

MM: How do you account for your willing acceptance by the children?

Ema: I am a new face, and children sometimes respond well to a visitor. And being a Religious sister helps, and sitting cross-legged OK by me. Getting up is not getting easier.

MM: Do you encourage the children to pray on their own?

Ema: Yes, they do it at home, and some ask their parents to pray with them.

MM: What schools do you visit for prayer in Wellington?

Ema: St Teresa’s Karori, Cardinal McKeefry School  Wilton, St Bernard’s Brooklyn, Holy Cross School Miramar. Two more have approached me. I visit several schools in a day.

MM: Why do you enjoy this ministry so much?

Ema: Because it works. The children share with me the gifts of the Holy Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and self-control...


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