St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, Walnut Grove, CA – Infant Jesus Statue

Traditional statues of St. Joseph, St. Anthony and the Blessed Mother and Jesus grace the church to provide focus for contemplation and prayer. Many of the statues have been present since the construction of the church over ninety years ago. In a rear corner of the church is an image of the Infant Jesus of Prague mounted in a gold-framed wall sconce made by a parishioner, hanging over a candle stand used by the faithful to physically raise their petitions to the Child King.

The lovely image is adorned in a laced cape of white and red while holding a cross-topped orb (the Earth) in His left hand, with His right hand raised in blessing. The two rings on His right hand commemorate a gift of a noble family in 1788 in thanksgiving for the miraculous cure of their daughter.

The devotion to Infant Jesus has a long history beginning with the Nativity at Bethlehem and leading to the veneration of the Infant Jesus of Prague statue starting in the mid-16th century in Spain (not Prague) when a small wax-over-wood image of Jesus, as a child of 4-6 years of age, was made by a monk based on a miraculous vision. The image made its way to the Czech Republic as a wedding gift to Princess Polyxena of Lobkovic. The princess obtained much consolation and help through the intercession of Infant Jesus; and eventually donated the statue to a monastery of Discalced Carmelites. A Carmelite, Father Cyril of the Mother of God is credited with restoring the damaged statue after an warring invasion in 1631. It was at this time he heard the words of Infant Jesus, “The more you honor Me, the more I will bless you”. Many miracles occurred and the statue was relocated to its current home in the Church of Our Lady Victorious in Prague. The mystery of the all-powerful God coming to Earth as a helpless human infant has captured the hearts and minds of devotees since the dawn of Christianity. Many churches across the world are dedicated to Infant Jesus and many more have a statue of the Infant Jesus on display for contemplation and prayer.

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