Laura Krajewski, a long-time volunteer at Toronto’s St. Dominic’s Church, died March 2 in a hiking accident. Photo courtesy of the Krajewski family

St. Dominic's Laura Krajewski left an ‘incredible legacy’

By 
  • March 12, 2019

Laura Krajewski was a light. 

The parish staff at St. Dominic’s Church in Mississauga, Ont.,  described her as a person full of joy who welcomed everyone who came by the parish office window with a warm smile. When she didn’t show up for work on Sunday, March 3, they knew something was wrong. 

On Monday, they received the worst news they could imagine.

Krajewski, 24, died on March 2 while hiking with her boyfriend on the Etobicoke Creek Trail in Mississauga. She was walking along the trail which runs north of the creek, near Centennial Park, when she lost her footing and fell down a steep slope to the water. 

Peel Regional Police, paramedics and firefighters responded to a call at 2:46 p.m. The marine unit found her after a lengthy search, but she was pronounced dead at hospital.

“We didn’t know until Monday,” said Pat Hyland, parish bookkeeper. “She was supposed to work Sunday and we didn’t know what happened. And if she couldn’t make it, she would always call…. We’re all in trauma to say the least.”

Many parishioners attended her funeral Mass on March 12 at St. Dominic’s Church. Krajewski was an active member in several ministries, including the parish youth group, folk choir and lector. She worked in the parish office part-time for 10 years and was the head of student personnel. She was 14 years old and a Grade 9 student at St. Paul’s Catholic High School when she began her work with the parish.   

“The parish community has sustained us beyond words with their support in our time of grief,” said 28-year-old sister Diane Krajewski. 

“They share in our pain and lift us up with shared stories and memories of Laura and the incredible legacy she leaves.”

She added that their family always understood that St. Dominic’s Church was their second home. Diane also worked in student personnel at the office before she moved to Dublin, Ireland, to study medicine. 

Their parents, Connie and Stan, are also a constant presence at the parish, often volunteering for parish fundraisers. 

“Without being present and active, it is impossible to be an integral part of the parish community,” said Diane. 

When Gloria Noronha was hired as parish secretary seven years ago, Krajewski had already been working in the office for three years. “I always relied on Laura (Krajewski) because she was the one who made the schedules and at one point, I said to her, ‘You need to make a manual for these students,’ ” Noronha said. “She was so happy to do it and she did it and it was always in the office.”

Even with the work load of a biology student at University of Toronto Mississauga, Krajewski catalogued and indexed all the tasks, duties and procedures into a big white binder that all student personnel now rely on when they come to work at the parish office. 

“It’s going to be difficult working without her,” said Noronha. “She always had a smile and a hug for everyone. She was so welcoming. She was simply out of this world.”

Krajewski had a generous spirit with a heart of service. As a first year student at UTM, she decided to scale back her extra-curricular activities to focus on her studies. She quickly realized volunteer work was an important part of her life. 

“I dropped everything to focus on school, but that didn’t work out very well,” she said in her Convocation 2016 stories on the UTM website. “My life got too narrow.”

She joined the Health & Counselling Centre’s Healthy Campus Crew as a volunteer. She worked with the Let’s Talk Science outreach program where she led science workshops for local schools and Girl Guide groups. She even co-wrote two science songs, “The Sound of Mitosis” and “Our Experiment.”

It was at school that Krajewski fully realized her love of nature. Her interest in hiking and bird-watching was sparked when she took an Ornithology course as an elective. She later completed an internship with the Riverwood Conservatory

laura st dominic obit 02Laura taking a break from a hike. (Photo courtesy of Diane Krajewski)

“Since that time, she participated in the Annual Christmas Bird Count and would regularly revel in nature while hiking and exploring,” said Diane. 

She graduated UTM with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in June 2016. She worked full-time as the front office and communications assistant at the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre on campus, while she prepared to enter her graduate studies this fall. 

(NOTE: This story has been updated to correct the location of St. Dominic's Church.)


Support The Catholic Register

Unlike many other news websites, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our site. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you. 

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location

Support The Catholic Register

Unlike many other news websites, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our site. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.