HISTORY OF THE DEVOTION
by Charito Yeh
Prague is the capital
city of Czechoslovakia which is located at the very center of Europe;
and its neighbouring countries
are Germany, Poland, Russia and Austria. The history of the Infant
of Prague started in the 17th
century when the statue was brought into Bohemia (now Czech
Republic) by a Spanish Lady and was given to the Carmelites
at the Church of the Virgin Mary the Victorious in Mala Strana,
a small town in Prague, as a spiritual treasure. However, the history
of the statuette that has made this church famous began in Spain.
the Beginning: Spain 1550
Teresa of Avila.
The popularity of the Child
Jesus grew in the Baroque period (Spain) which may have been caused
by the visions of St.
Teresa of Avila,
the reformer of the Carmelite
Order who used
Infant Jesus with her all the time when founding convents.
The reverence for the Incarnation emphasizing the human side of
Jesus Christ who had become a mere child, was very much alive in
Spain at the
number of sculptures of the Holy Child were made in Spain and these
were made of wax, ivory and bronze and were dressed in garments
reflecting the aristocratic fashion of that period. It is
unknown to this date which of those early sculptures that got to
Prague was the exact origin of the Jesus of Prague.
was speculated that the statue came from a monastery in Bohemia
which was then obtained by Dona Isabella Manrique of Spain.
On the other hand, it was also said that the statuette is the work
of an unknown artist of Spain and in 1550's it was owned by Manrique
de Lara family.
Dona Isabella's daughter, Duchess Maria Maxmiliana (Marie)
Manrique de Lara, married the Czech nobleman Vratislav of Pernstejn
in 1556, she received this rare family treasure as a wedding
gift and brought the Infant Jesus statue to her new residence
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