Sister Mignonne Konecny, O.P.
Sister Margaret Jerome Konecny, O.P.
Sister Mignonne was born in San Antonio, Texas. She is the only child of Margie and L.J. Konecny. The family moved to Houston when she was young. The family lived in the Heights and she has fond memories of camping and visiting her grandparents. As a child she became a lifelong baseball fan. Her father traveled during most of her childhood and she recalls with fondness going to games with him when he was home. Sister Mignonne attended All Saints Catholic School and then St. Agnes Academy where she was taught by Dominican Sisters. “The Dominicans were an important part of my life. They were wonderful women who taught us and made lasting impressions.”
Sister Mignonne attended St. Louis University after graduating from St. Agnes Academy. She graduated with a Bachelors in English and had minors in history and philosophy. Afterward she went back to school to earn her teaching certificate. In 1960 she entered the Dominican Convent, hoping to influence young people as the Dominican Sisters had influenced her.
Sister Mignonne has taught at St. Agnes Academy, St. Pius X High School and Monsignor Kelly Catholic High School. She received her Masters of Education in Supervision from Lamar University. She was asked to take the position of academic counselor but instead took the time to study theology at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio. While attending school herself, she taught at AntonianCollege Preparatory High School.
Her next ministry was at St. Alphonsus Parish in San Antonio. She worked with the children’s religious education program and taught scripture to adults. “My life changed after I began this ministry. I learned from the congregation what it meant to be a Christian community.” The parish was part of a new, institutional based organization called Communities Organized for Public Services (COPS) that was helping people take control of their lives and bring about major changes in their neighborhood. “The community addressed issues with streets, drainage, housing, schools. It was something foreign to my experiences and it was real.” Sister Mignonne got involved with this program and remembers one day asking one of the mothers why she spent so much time at the parish working on things. “The mother’s reply was, ‘I used to go to Mass on Christmas, Easter and Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Then when COPS came into the parish, I saw that the church really cared about me and my family. The priests and people wanted to make the schools better and to improve the neighborhood and I wanted to be a part of that’.”
Over the past 30 years Sister Mignonne has continued to work with organizations like COPS in Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, Dallas, El Paso and in the Rio Grande Valley. “This is my way to be Christian, to be Dominican, to have an impact on people’s lives. It has been a wonderful opportunity for me to learn, to grow and to be.”
Sister Mignonne continues to work with this network of organizations united through the Industrial Areas Foundation, primarily with workforce development programs. These programs assist adults who are stuck in low paying jobs to attend community college and obtain credentials to move to jobs that pay good wages. She plans to continue in this ministry as long as her experience continues allowing people to develop the power to change their lives.
From submitted notes from Sister MignonneKonecny, O.P. June 2014.