Infant Jesus of Prague – St. Wenceslaus Church, Wilber, NE

In the west alcove of the seating area is another image special to the Czech people, a statue of Infant Jesus of Prague. The statue in this church is a lovely image of the Infant King dressed in white with decorative gold-leaf engraving and a red cape also with gold engraving. The regal red and gold crown is capped with a cross-topped orb and the sacred Infant’s right hand is raised in supplication while He holds a blue globe with a golden cross in His left hand.

The original Infant Jesus statue was probably made in Spain sometime in the second half of the 16th century (or before). Some say it was molded by a monk in Spain based on a miraculous vision while others say it was originally owned and venerated by St. Theresa of Jesus who spread the veneration throughout Spain. The statue was taken to Prague in 1556 and then given as a wedding gift to Polyxena of Lobkovic who venerated the statue and received much consolation and help.

Polyxena of Lobkovic donated the statue as a precious gift to the monastery of Discalced Carmelites at the church of Our Lady Victorious in 1628. The Carmelites placed the statue in their novitiate chapel so that the young monks would learn the virtues of small Jesus.

In 1631 the Saxons seized Prague. The Carmelites fled from the monastery. The monastery was plundered and the Infant Jesus statue damaged and discarded as junk. The statue was rediscovered in 1637 when the Carmelites returned to Prague. With them was also Father Cyril of the Mother of God, originally from Luxembourg, who remembered his time as a novice and the powerful intercession of the Infant Jesus. He found the statue among old junk. With great sorrow he discovered that both its arms had been broken off. During prayer he heard the Infant Jesus say: “Have mercy on me and I will have mercy on you. Give me my arms and I will give you my peace. I will bless you as much as you will venerate me!”. Eventually, Father Cyril was able to have new arms made for the Infant Jesus. Miracles and blessings attributed to Infant Jesus began to occur and many people came to the Carmelite Chapel to venerate the statue.

Eventually, the Chapel was too small for all of the visitors, so in 1741, the statue was relocated to its present location in the Church of Our Lady Victorious in Prague.

Over the years, the veneration of the statue of Infant Jesus has waned and been restored, for example for 50 years from 1939 to 1989 while the Nazi and, later communists occupied Prague, veneration was silenced; however, crowds of pilgrims, mainly from Spanish speaking countries still came to see the Infant Jesus. By the turn of the 19th and 20th century, the veneration of the Infant Jesus had spread all over the world in a miraculous way. It took roots to the greatest extent in Spain from where the Infant Jesus originated and Portugal. Thanks to missionaries, colonizers, and European immigrants, the Infant Jesus is known in India, China, the Philippines, and in North and South America.

In 1993, the Discalced Carmelites returned to the Church of Our Lady Victorious and the veneration of the Infant Jesus was brought back to life – including a 2009 visit to the church by Pope Benedict XVI who offered a crown as a present for Infant Jesus.

Today the veneration continues in Prague at the Church of Our Lady Victorious and throughout the world.

References
All websites were accessed on or about 8-3-2021 and are considered to be useful, reliable and secure, but users should view the websites at their own discretion. The author or the website https://churchwonders.com is not responsible for those sites’ code or content.

Infant Jesus of Prague, Official Site – https://www.pragjesu.cz/en

%d bloggers like this: