The Infant of Prague is a popular Catholic devotion.
Many of us like to keep Infant of Prague statues in our homes.
It’s been said that the original Infant of Prague statue once belonged to Saint Teresa of Avila. She was a Spanish mystic who lived during the 16th century.
At the age of seven, Saint Teresa and her brother ran away from home. They hoped to become martyrs. Spain, at the time, had been locked in a centuries-old battle with Moorish invaders from North Africa.
Teresa and her brother were hoping these anti-Catholic invaders would find and kill them, so they could die a martyrs’ death. However, instead, they were found by an uncle and returned to their family home.
Holy Infant Jesus of Prague
There are no written records that Saint Teresa owned the first Infant of Prague statue. But it’s widely believed she did. It is known that she always carried a small statue of the child Jesus with her.
Saint Teresa is also credited with popularizing devotion to the infant Jesus.. This is something that has since spread to Latin America, where there’s a similar Colombia devotion known as Divino Nino, or Divine Child.
Reportedly, Saint Therese gave a 18-inch statue of Jesus as a child to a Spanish woman named Maria Manrique de Lara on the day she was married to an Eastern European nobleman.
Infant Jesus Prague Statues
Catholics around the world are very familiar with this devotion. You often see Infant of Prague statues in Catholic homes. I have one in my bedroom. It used to belong to my grandmother, and I treasure it.
Years ago, these statues were mostly purchased in Catholic gift shops. However, many of these small family-run businesses have closed. But a selection of Infant of Prague statues are now available online.
Here is a 7.9-inch Infant of Prague statue made from marble resin.
Story of the Infant of Prague
Maria Manrique de Lara then bequeathed the statue to her pious daughter, known as Princess Polyxina von Lobkowicz, who treasured it and considered it her “dearest possession.” She inherited the statue in 1628.
However, later the princess decided to donate it to a Carmelite monastery in Prague, and she told the monks to honor this statue, and it would help provide for their needs. “You shall never want,” she stated.
Shortly after the monks began praying before the statue, their poor community attracted a new benefactor. This was a wealthy emperor who began to send them money each month.
This appears to be the start of the tradition of imploring help from the infant of Jesus when you are in want of material things.
The monks in this particular monastery were then transferred to Germany. Because of this, their twice-daily prayers before the statue stopped and devotion to the Infant of Prague was largely forgotten for a period of time.
The Swedish Invasion of Prague
In 1631, the City of Prague fell seize to Swedish invaders during a conflict known as the Thirty Years War that affected much of Europe. The Carmelite monastery was invaded and damaged. The statue was ripped from the altar and thrown into a trash heap, later to be discovered by a holy priest named Father Cyrillus.
He restored the statue, which had been broken by the invaders. He also had a vision in which the statue spoke to him. One of the messages was a plea to fix the broken hands, and peace would be granted. Another was a promise that Christ would bless those who honor this statue.
In the ensuing centuries, many miracles and favors have been granted, including healing of the sick when all hope seemed lost. This statue is now located at the Church of Our Lady Victorious in Mala Straga, Prague in the Czech Republic.
It’s a Catholic custom to implore the help of the Infant of Prague for various spiritual and temporal needs. I remember my grandmother had a statue of the Infant of Prague on her bedroom dresser. After she died, I brought this treasured item my house.
Infant of Prague statues make great gifts for devoted Catholics. They can also be given as wedding, anniversary, First Holy Communion and Confirmation presents. The statue shown below is 10-inches high, and comes in a gift box.
Devotion to the Infant of Prague
Countless replicas of the miraculous Infant of Prague statue have been made and are still being made. Many Catholic homes have a statue prominently displayed. It’s widely believed that a family will never go hungry or suffer serious loss of livelihood if they honor this statue.
Many parishes and shrines are also named after the Child Jesus under this title. Perhaps the most famous is the National Shrine of the Infant of Prague located in Prague, Oklahoma, a small town of about 2,000 people originally settled by immigrants from Czechoslovakia.
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