Making our Pilgrimage to the Infant of Prague was a great decision for us when visiting Prague. We could not see Prague without making a stop there to visit the 16th Century Roman Catholic Wax Wooden Statue located in the Discalced Carmelite Church in Prague. It’s located in Our Lady of Victory in Prague.
The actual origin and time the statue first appeared is unknown it’s first known location was 1556. Legend has it a Monk in Spain saw a little boy who appeared to him (the child Jesus) he told him to pray and the monk spent several hours praying and then sculpted the statue. Legend also has it the statue once belonged to Saint Teresa of Avila.
It was said to be dated at about the 1340’s and was originally in Spain. It most likely came to Prague during the Hapsburg’s rule who had close ties to Spain.
It’s interesting because during the 30 year war special devotions were pretty much not practiced. During this period the Carmelite Friary was plundered and ransacked and the Infant of Prague Statue was left in the rubble and trash. It basically laid there for 7 years and would not be rediscovered until 1637. With it’s hands broken off it was discovered by Father Cyrullis and while one day he was praying he claimed to have heard.
Have pity on me, and I will have pity on you. Give me my hands, and I will give you peace. The more you honour me, the more I will bless you.
Since that time the statue has remained in Prague. It represents the Christ Child to most going to visit. For some it may just be a piece of wood, yet for countless pilgrims it represents hope. Prayers brought along their journey through life and place at the foot of Christ. Prayers of countless pilgrims coming from throughout the world.
The statue is associated with many miracles. One famous is that during the 1600 the Swedish Army was bearing down on the city the people ran to the church and the shrine of the Infant of Prague and prayed for Christ to protect the city. They held mass and special prayers all day and night. As the army decided to move away from the city the inhabitants ascribe the miracle to their devotion to prayer to the Christ Child Jesus.
Every Year they continue this tradition by remembering what Christ did for the city. The process through the streets with the Infant dressed in fine clothes. They celebrate the victory Jesus gave them on this day. The Infant is honored and celebrated at this time on the Feast of the Infant of Prague.
For myself having lost a child to suicide the pilgrimages I make offer me moments of great peace. They offer me hope through Jesus. I usually will make one a year and it for me is almost like my reigniting of my faith. It’s a reminder that life is so very precious. I take along my journey the prayers of my friends and family as well as my own parish. I take along all my shattered dreams as well as my new dreams. I come back always with HOPE.
For each person their reasons for pilgrimage are different. Some are in search of medical healing, some peace, some knowledge, some faith, and some may not even know what it is they look for. After centuries of prayer being brought though pilgrimage it has become almost a lost art in the busyness of the world. Take a moment if you haven’t to rediscover the Pilgrimage.
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