Following a Dream
A young Elizabeth Krajewski remembers being in church and sitting quietly in the pews with her family. Looking at the priests, she believed they had the most important job in the world. However, there were no women who ran the church. This sparked something in Elizabeth. She thought, “I can do that.”
And she did.
Elizabeth grew in Newton, Massachusetts and attended the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass., receiving her bachelor’s degree in music education. She taught for eight years before moving on to earn her master’s degree in preparation for church ministry. However, the church she joined didn’t ordain women. Elizabeth remembers, “Even when I was really little, it was always men in charge of the church. But as a kid, I would say, ‘that is the most important job in the whole world. I can do that.’”
Determined, she attended Seabury Western Theological Seminary in Illinois and earned her merit at the University of Johnson and Wales and took on the role as parish priest for eight years. Her mission; be there for the community and for those who needed hope. “There were many things about it that I loved - going to hospitals, being there for people when they were struggling or dying, women who were having babies or getting married. There were joyous moments and there were difficult moments. I got to be in the middle of it all. And I loved that,” says Elizabeth.
After several years of working with the Catholic Church, it was time to branch out. She moved to New Hampshire where she began to work at Colby-Sawyer College as an adjunct faculty - both as a professor and library research consultant at the Susan Colgate Cleveland Library. Here, she began to teach World Religions, and everything fell into place. One of her favorite courses she taught was The Meaning of Death last spring. “The class was full and the conversations were amazing. Students were very interested. I was pleasantly surprised,” Elizabeth said.
Next semester, Elizabeth is teaching a course called Muhammed and the Buddha that focusses on Islam and Buddhism. Meditation is an important part of Elizabeth’s life and she meditates as much as she can. She has been doing it for so long she does not recall when she started. She does, however, remember being inspired by the research scientists who started realizing that there are health benefits to meditation such as better concentration and even better digestion. Krajewski said, “I think the most important thing it’s done for me is taught me to be patient with others and myself. It’s helped me to be more forgiving towards myself and others. If I can forgive myself, I can forgive others.”
In addition to meditation, Elizabeth is a big Qigong fan. Qigong is a light exercise in Chinese culture that focuses on posture, movement and general flow of energy through the body. She teaches Qigong in most of her classes in hopes of helping students manage their stress. “My students absolutely love it,” Elizabeth said.
On her own time, Elizabeth is still doing research and learning every day. She believes that one should never stop learning and to try and do everything. In her spare time, she loves to weave and finds it a perfect way to be mindful during busy days. She also adores her cat Buddy, her twelve-year-old companion. Elizabeth said, “At the end of the day, the encounters that mean the most to me are when a student has bumped into something they usually didn’t understand, and they struggle with it a little bit, but they’re able to overcome that and, hopefully, understand themselves and others better.”
by Renee Duval ’22