Lorraine Thalbourne and her team of knitters, who meet every Friday morning after 9.30am Mass, came up with the idea of knitting ‘prayer bears’ for Reception students at the school.
Lorraine said she thought it would be nice if the children could hold their teddies while they prayed. She has compiled some wording for a prayer card suggesting that each child give their teddy a name, “perhaps a saint’s name”, and “sit quietly with it while they say thank you for the good things in their day and for their family”.
The group has made 70 teddies and is hoping to make another 30 before Easter.
The Knit and Natter group was established about five years ago after a Canossian Sister in the parish spoke with Lorraine about their shared passion for knitting.
Lorraine said Sister Valerie had since moved to the Tiwi Islands and the group has made prayer blankets for her to give out to the Islanders.
The group also makes prayer blankets for nursing home residents as well as beanies at the beginning of winter, with donations going to the St Vincent de Paul Society and Fred’s Van, and angels for Vinnies hampers at Christmas.
The prayer blankets comprise four 70cm strips knitted by different people and joined together by Lorraine who also puts a border around them. They serve as a reminder, Lorraine said, to “never stop believing, never stop praying” because the people who made the blanket are praying for them.
The skill level in the group varies and some people come purely for a ‘natter’.
“A couple of guys just come and have a chat, and sometimes they roll up balls of wool for us,” said Lorraine, who was taught to knit by her grandmother as a young girl.
“Our main aim is to spread the message of love and kindness.”
St Augustine’s principal Dan Cowan said there were about 91 Reception children from all cultures and religious backgrounds at the school.
He and Lorraine hope to have a special presentation and blessing of the teddies by parish priest Fr Shibu Jacob MSFS during Holy Week.