Infant of Prague
Special devotion to the Divine Child originated with the Carmelites in the city of Prague, Bohemia, in the beginning of the seventeenth century. Princess Polyxenia of Lobkowitz had received as a wedding gift from her mother a statue of the Divine Child, previously brought from Spain.
It was a small statue, just nineteen inches tall, made of wood, wax, and cloth. It represented the infant Jesus dressed in royal robes and wearing a king’s crown.
After the death of her husband, the princess devoted herself to works of charity and was particularly helpful to the Carmelites in Prague. In 1628, when the Carmelite Monastery had been reduced to poverty, owing to the ravages of war, the princess gave her precious statue to the Carmelites, saying, “I give you what I prize most highly in the world; honor and respect the Child Jesus and you shall never be in want.”
Her gift was placed in the Carmelite oratory. The words of the princess proved prophetic, for as long as the Carmelites kept up their devotion to the Divine Infant of Prague, everything pospered with them.
The Carmelites were later forced to flee from the city, and in the confusion of the war, they were unable to take with them their miraculous statue. The invaders seized it and threw it into a pile of rubbish.
In 1635, peace came to Prague and the Carmelites returned. One of them, Father Cyril, who had previously received great spiritual help through his devotion to the Infant of Prague, sought the statue and found it amidst the rubbish.
Overjoyed, he again placed the statue in the oratory. Father Cyril knelt in prayer before the small statue. Gazing upon the simple statue of the Child Jesus, he contemplated the most marvelous even in the history of the world, the Incarnation. He was filled with awe and wonder has he prayed to the God who became a child because of his love for us.
Suddenly, the statue spoke to him. Father Cyril was stunned as he heard these words of promise:
“HAVE MERCY ON ME AND I WILL HAVE MERCY ON YOU.
GIVE ME HANDS AND I WILL GIVE YOU PEACE.
THE MORE YOU HONOR ME, THE MORE I WILL BLESS YOU.”
Startled by these words, Father Cyril examined the statue, and upon drawing aside the mantle covering it, he found that both hands of the statue were broken off. The hands were later restored to the statue through the generosity of a devotee of the Divine Child.
St. Therese, the Little Flower, was also a most fervent venerator. For more than three centuries, this promise has inspired a worldwide devotion to the Miraculous Infant Jesus of Prague. The original statue is still preserved in the church of St. Mary of Victory in Prague.
Today, replicas and models of the small statue are honored in every part of the world. The list of blessings attributed by devotees of the Infant Jesus is endless: health restored, financial problems solved, gifts of peace of mind and soul, and innumerable healings, both physical and spiritual. God has been astonishingly generous in blessing those who have been devoted to his Infant Son.