Need a latte?…Ask the ladies and Our Lady
“Ask and you SHALL receive,” says part of the sign on the table outside Charcoal Chicken at Canberra’s Charnwood shops.
Except we’re not talking about hot chickens here. We’re not even talking about lattes, though that’s part of the package on offer.
The sign belongs to the Latte with Our Lady group from the West Belconnen parish of St Thomas Aquinas.
Though open to all, there’s a stalwart core of four or five ladies who meet out on the footpath in front of Charcoal Chicken on the first Saturday of every month for a good latte.
And to say the Rosary.
“The Virgin Mary promises that the Rosary is the answer to the world’s problems,” says Julie Schranz, the group’s convenor.
In these confusing times, there’s been plenty to keep the group going.
It first met over 15 years ago and grew out of an idea in a pamphlet from the Australia needs Fatima project, which referred to the importance of prayer ‘in the marketplace’.
“So I thought where’s our ‘marketplace’?” said Julie.
And she realised it was at the Charnwood shops, near where she lived at the time.
“I was a bit nervous at first about the group. But if we get rocks thrown at us…well whatever.”
There were no rocks then and no rocks since. But over the years people have stopped for a chat, and some for prayer and reflection.
Last year a woman came to the group, worried by the nation’s devastating bushfires.
“She stayed and prayed with us,” said Julie. “We gave her a book on the Rosary and a pair of beads.”
This pleases the latte ladies who say they don’t just ‘rabbit’ on about the Rosary but meditate meaningfully on each mystery.
Julie says, “I’ve had a lot of prayers answered through the Rosary and why would I not back something that works.”
That ‘something that works’ are the seeds of prayer and faith that the group is keen to plant in their local community.
Need a good latte? “Ask and you SHALL receive.”
As Julie and her friends will tell you, your prayers might be answered in more ways than one.