Holy Infant Child of Prague

Holy Infant Child of Prague

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

One of the most popular representations of Jesus within Roman Catholicism is the original of the popular statue of Jesus as a child. This is found in a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the Church of Our Lady Victorious, in Prague, the Czech Republic. The origin of this statue is somewhat obscure, but the idea for it can be traced to traditional representations of the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus in her arms and independent representations of the infant child by medieval artists. This particular statue seems to have been made in Spain and came to Prague as a wedding gift to a Spanish woman Maria Manriquez de Lara when she married the Czech nobleman Vratislav of Pernstynwho. The family later passed it to Carmelite monks in Prague.

The statue suffered damage during the Thirty Years War when Swedish and Protestant soldiers overran the city. However, a Father Cyril later found the statue and put it on display for public veneration. One day, as he prayed, the infant Jesus spoke to him: “Have pity on Me and I will have pity on you. Give Me My hands and I will give you peace. The more you honor Me, the more I will bless you.” Afterward, even in its damaged state, it became the catalyst for several healings. Some of those who were healed provided the funds to refurbish the statue and provide the rich clothes in which it is adorned.

Eventually, a separate chapel was built for the statue. It now rests on a marble altar surrounded by a host of gold angels. The statue itself, made of wax, is encased in a silver frame. More than 50 outfits of the most expensive materials have been presented to the infant Jesus.

Pilgrimages to the chapel occur annually, but they swell around May 27, the day the statue is paraded through the streets of the city. An effort to make the Holy Infant Child of Prague well known has undergirded its popularity. It gained significant support in 1924, after Pope Pius XI sent a representative to officially crown the sacred image. Not only are many copies of the statue now present in Catholic churches globally, but related shrines focused on the Holy Infant have arisen in several countries. Such shrines exist in the United States at Prague, Oklahoma; New Haven, Connecticut; and Traverse City, Michigan.

Sources:

Cruz, Joan. Prayers and Heavenly Promises. Rockford, IL: Tan Books, 1990.
Devotion to the Infant Jesus of Prague. Rockford, IL: Tan Books, 1975.
Forbelsky, Royt. Horyna: Holy Infant of Prague. Prague: Arentinum, 1992.
Infant of Prague Devotions. Boston: St. Paul Books & Media, 1992.