Because hostile armies still overran the city, the community was in
distress until Fr. Cyril remembered the prosperity and peace they had
enjoyed while devotions to the Infant Jesus were observed. He searched for
the lost statue and eventually found it almost buried in dust and debris.
Made of wood and coated with wax, the image had miraculously suffered
little from its neglect, except the statue’s two hands were missing.
Cyril placed the statue atop an altar in the oratory and reorganized
devotions to it. One day, while praying before the statue, he distinctly
heard these words: "Have pity on Me, and I will have pity on you.
Give Me My hands, and I will give you peace. The more you honor Me, the
more I will bless you."
When money intended for the repair of the statue was
spent on a replacement, the Infant manifested His displeasure by causing
the new statue to be shattered by a falling candlestick. Once again the
original statue became the object of veneration, but when additional funds
for the necessary repairs proved to be slow in coming, Fr. Cyril again
heard the voice: "Place Me near the entrance of the sacristy, and
you will receive aid." When this was done, the full cost of the
repairs was promptly donated.
The needs of the community were always met through the
continued devotion to the Child Jesus, and such were the favors granted
that replicas of the statue were made for those who likewise wanted to
benefit from the generous favors of the holy Child.
It became the traditional practice of the shrine in
Prague to clothe the statue several times each year in the proper
liturgical color. The most beautiful garment in the collection is an
ermine cloak placed on the statue the first Sunday after Easter, which is
the anniversary day of the coronation of the statue by the bishop of
Prague in 1655. During the Christmas season the statue is clothed in a
dark green robe made of velvet and richly decorated with golden
embroidery. This was a gift of the Empress Maria Theresa on the occasion
of her coronation as queen of Bohemia in 1743. The infant’s wardrobe
contains more than 50 dresses. Many, too, are the golden ornaments and
chains, given by grateful devotees, which adorn the holy statue.
Since the time of the statue’s ecclesiastical
approbation in 1655, replicas always represent the royal status of the
Child. Crowned and clothed in a mantle of fine fabrics, the statues hold
in the left hand a sphere representing the world, while the right hand is
raised in blessing.
Standing a mere 19 inches high, the statue is known
throughout the world, with the word "miraculous"
generally added to its title.
The original statue of the Infant Jesus is enshrined in
a side chapel of the Church of Our Lady of Victory.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux (second from
left) had a special devotion
to the Infant Jesus of Prague
—Reprinted from Miraculous Images
of Our Lord, by Joan Carroll Cruz,
published by TAN Books and Publishers (1995);
color picture courtesy of The Gerffert Company