Lenore Krajewski is pictured with Bishop James P. Powers at the Superior Diocesan Council of Catholic Women’s Conference held in August at Holy Rosary Church in Medford. Krajewski, a parishioner of St. Mary’s in Bruce, was a Pax Christi Award finalist. (Catholic Herald photo by Jenny Snarski)

Jenny Snarski
Catholic Herald Staff

Lenore Krajewski, a 2021 Pax Christi Award finalist from St. Mary’s in Bruce, celebrates 50 years of marriage to husband Larry this January.

Doing your best and not dwelling on the “whys” of what God allows to happen in life have been key elements for their family life, she said.

The couple met at college in La Crosse and moved to Bruce in 1975 where they took over a family artificial insemination business and ran a dairy farm. Their five sons were all raised on the farm and still live within driving distance for frequent visits.

Family and faith are the veins of Krajewski’s life, and she spoke frankly about balancing belief with acceptance. Both are virtues she has been called to live out.

Krajewski said her go-to prayer is “Lord, help me.”

Turning to him as the source of everything seems to be a lived habit – something the Kenosha native credits in part to farm life – 32 years of milking cows, twice a day, six days a week.

“It’s hard to put your finger on what life experiences shape your belief,” she said.

“Farming is hard,” Krajewski added. “There were a lot of times all I could say was, ‘Lord, help me.’”

In early May 2000, during an annual field trip for Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School fourth-graders following their chapter on aviation, an accident took the life of their 27-year-old son, Peter. He was the fourth-grade teacher – he died along with a parent chaperone and the small plane’s pilot – on the last run of the day after all the students had been given rides.

Krajewski recalled her comment to the late Bishop Raphael Fliss at the time: “I’m sure God had a reason, but I wish he’d share it with me.”

The mother added that she has watched that reason unfold over these past 20-plus years. She said Peter has left a legacy, and there are still former students of his whose lives he affected. The loss of all three affected the whole parish cluster.

“It was pretty traumatic,” she said, “But over the years, you learn to live with it. I vividly remember the day it happened and what we went through – but time gives a different perspective,” Krajewski affirmed. “I look back on my life and I think, wow, things certainly evolve.”

She continued, “Not that I try to force them to… I just let it go around me.”

Krajewski described herself as being “reactive more than proactive,” allowing things to happen rather than making them happen.

All in all, her faith is that “God is in control.”

“I don’t know how anybody could go through the death of a child without faith,” she said, then applied a similar sense of faith when it comes to children who were raised in the faith no longer practicing.

Krajewski is grateful all her children believe in God. She knows she did her best as a parent, continues to pray for them but has chosen to “let them go their own way,” and love them through it all.

“Basically,” Krajewski summarized, “The story of my entire life is these two quotes – ones I’ve said for years: “’Plan’ is a four-letter word. And normal is a relative term.”

Much more is said of Krajewski and the traits qualifying her nomination for the SDCCW’s Pax Christi Award.
Krajewski’s parish roles have included helping with religious education and music ministry and participation in the Diocesan Chorale, volunteering at funeral luncheons and acting as a Eucharistic minister in addition to her years of dedication to the CCW at the parish, deanery and diocesan levels.

“Our candidate is a team player; she can lead as well as follow,” the nomination dossier states.

Besides church involvement, Krajewski was also a 4H leader for many years and acted as a parent advisor and clerk for her local township.

“The earth revolves around the sun, and the church revolves around our candidate,” the dossier adds. “Her motivations are from the heart.”