The Infant Jesus of Prague

The Infant Jesus of Prague

Uncover Hidden Saints meanings

In Ireland the night before a brides wedding she would put a statue outside her house to ensure that she would have good weather for that day. There has been many claims of astonishing healings and favors that have been claimed for people who have prayed to this statue.

Requesting petitions for the following:

  • For miraculous healing and granting of special favors.
  • Help for those people in surgery.
  • Ask the Infant of Jesus if you are seeking wisdom.
  • For guidance on spiritual matters.
  • Candle Color: Orange
  • Feast day: 25th of December
  • Ritual day: Monday
  • Areas of help: Matters of health, surgery, guidance and wisdom.

Novena to the Jesus Infant of Prague:

Light an orange candle next to a picture or statue of the Infant of Prague, and say once an hour for nine hours on one single day your prayer.

Background of the saint

The source of the extraordinary statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague is masked in mysterious secretive legend. Infant Jesus of Prague is a wax statue found in the Czech republic.

  • The statue is located in a church, known as the Lady Victorious in Malá Strana. There are many secret theories surrounding the statue.
  • It has been known to speak to people.
  • The statue has been prayed to, in order to ask for help connected to health. 
  • In African American Hoodoo the Infant Jesus is prayed to in times of special need, especially connected to surgery or wisdom.

Early church fathers such as St. Athanasius and St. Jerome, had a special enthusiasm for the Infant Jesus. The later big Saints such as St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Teresa of the Infant Jesus (Little Flower), St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua and St. Teresa of Avila have helped popularize this the Infant Jesus.

St. Teresa of Avila for example, used to travel with a Holy Infant statue when visiting monasteries. In 1300th, the Child’s sculptures made of wax or wood increased in popularity. Although the Gospels do not provide much information about the childhood of Lord Jesus, "the hidden life at Nazareth allows everyone to be in communion with Jesus on the most common ways of everyday life" (Catechism, no. 533).

Infant of Prague appeared in the middle of the sixteenth century. In 1556, Lara Maria Manrique of Spain married the Czech nobleman Vratislav Perstyn. She brought a statue of the Holy Child (that later would become the Child of Prague statue), about 45 cm high. Another tradition says that the statue was from a monastery. This monastery was in Bohemia.

Dona Isabella Manrique obtained this statue and she gave it as gift, on her daughters, Marie Manrique wedding day. In 1587, Marie Manrique gave the statue as a wedding gift to her daughter, Princess Lobkowitz Polyxeni.

There is a legend regarding the origin of the statue. A Carmelite monastery was attacked somewhere in Southern Spain. Legend says that only four monks managed to escape. One of them, named Joseph, had a special commitment to the Infant Jesus. Once, while working in the yard, a child appeared to Joseph and asked him to pray together. The child prayed "Hail Mary", and after the words "blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus" he said "It is I". At that time Joseph knew that he saw the Holy Child, and tried to reproduce his image. He tried many years without much success, until one day the child reappeared. He said: "I came to show myself once again to you, so that you can finish carving the sculpture in my likeness”. Joseph immediately began to work, and when he finished, the child disappeared. Being tired, Joseph went to sleep, but never woke up again. The child that was blessed took his friend home to heaven. Whether true or not historically speaking, this is a lovely story.

In 1628, Princess Polyxeni offered the statue of the Child Jesus to the barefoot Carmelites from Our Lady Victorious Church in Prague. She said: "I give you what you appreciate most of my possessions. Keep the statue with awe, and your life will go well". The year of 1631many Swedish troops invaded Prague. During this time the Catholic churches were devastated. The Carmelites were forced to leave, church of Our Lady Victorious. Swedish troops desecrated the church, destroying the main altar, and threw away the statue, breaking the Child’s arms. In 1638, the Carmelites were able to return to Prague in their church. Although they were poor, they remembered the words of Princess Polyxeni. Father Cyril found the Child Jesus statue buried in the ruins of the church. He cleaned the statue and placed it in their oratory for veneration.

One day, while praying before the statue, he heard the Infant Jesus saying: "Have pity on me, and I will have pity you. Give me arms, and I will give you peace. The more honor I will receive, the more I will bless you". Father Cyril understood that he must find a way to repair the arms of the Child, but he and his fellow monks had neither skill nor the material means to do so. Therefore, Father Cyril begged the Madonna to assist her divine Son. Again, when Father Cyril prayed before the statue, the Child spoke: "Place Me near the entrance to the sacristy, and you will get help." Father Cyril immediately fulfilled this request. Within days, a man came into the sacristy after the Mass to offer help. His donations paid for the statue’s repairs. Furthermore, the monastery never ever experienced poverty again.

Miracles began to happen. The first was recorded by Father Emerich in a book published in the German language in 1736, and in the Czech language in 1749. Because of these miracles, many pilgrims began to come. In 1641, an altar was built and the statue was placed on it for public veneration. Then, in 1644 a chapel was built. Nobility then began to dedicate themselves to the Infant of Prague, including King Ferdinand of Austria and King Charles Gustav of Sweden. On January 14, 1651, at a special procession of the statue of Our Lady Victorious Church in various other parishes, Bernard Ignatius offered a crown of gold adorned with precious stones, which was placed on the head of the statue.

The Archbishop of Prague formally agreed the dedication to the Infant Jesus as the "Infant of Prague statue" In 1648. On April 4, 1655, Archbishop Josef Corta, crowned this  statue, including a globe. In 1741 the statue was placed in another chapel, alongside images of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, and above were placed the images of the Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit, depicting the human and the divine family of Jesus. During the same time the staue was dressed in sophisticated clothing.

Since then, the devotion to the Infant of Prague continued to grow, particularly in Italy and Spain. Also in countries colonized by the Spaniards. This devotion inspires us to meditate on our Lord's childhood and his kingship. Despite troubles and wars, the statue remained protected. Furthermore, many miracles have been linked to this devotion.

By Florance Saul
Aug 17, 2012