Who is the Infant of Prague?


The Krechler statue of the Infant of Prague

The Infant Jesus of Prague is a 16th-century Roman Catholic wax-coated wooden statue of child Jesus holding a globus cruciger, located in the Discalced Carmelite Church of Our Lady Victorious in Malá Strana, Prague, Czech Republic. In addition, the statue has also merited Papal recognition through Pope Leo XIII who instituted the Sodality to the Infant Jesus of Prague in 1896. On 30 March 1913, Pope Saint Pius X further organised the Confraternity of the Infant Jesus of Prague. Pope Pius XI granted its first Canonical Coronation on 27 September 1924 while Pope Benedict XVI granted its second coronation to the image as well as a spare ermine fur cape during his Apostolic visit to the Czech Republic in September 2009. The National Shrine of Saint Jude has a statue and prayer society for the Infant Jesus, which is affiliated to the Shrine of the Infant Jesus cared for by our Discalced Carmelite brothers in Prague.

Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague
The original statue of the Infant Jesus is in the Discalced Carmelite Church in Prague, and came originally from Spain. It was brought to Bohemia by a Spanish princess whose family had treasured it as a miraculous heirloom. The princess's daughter was generous to the Carmelites, and presented it to the friars saying, "I hereby give you what I prize most highly in this world. So long as you venerate this image you shall not want." From that time onwards the community prospered both spiritually and temporally. But when the devotion to the Infant Jesus was relaxed, God's blessing seemed to depart from the house.

The statue in the chapel came from Prague, and is the work of the Czech sculptor Krechler, and is as near a copy as we could get of the world famous statue there. You may notice in it the high cheek bones of the Slav race. The crown is of course, the crown of Bohemia because he is the Little King - the King of Bohemia. The original vestments, which are a copy of the court robes of Bohemia in the 16th century, were made by the nuns of a convent near the Church of the Divine Infant of Prague. The vestments, in use at present, on the statue were made by a benefactor, and are changed according to the liturgical seasons. In June 1938 the Archbishop of Southwark gave permission for the erection in Faversham of the Confraternity of the Holy Infant of Prague, and affiliated it to the Arch-confraternity of the Merciful Child Jesus of Prague in the Church of Our Lady of Victories in Prague. The Confraternity, now known as the Society of the Infant Jesus, exists to promote the love and veneration of the Holy Name of Jesus, and by God's grace to establish his reign in the hearts of all through faith, hope and love.

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