Special devotion to the Child Jesus originated with the Carmelites nuns in the city of Prague, in the current country of Czech Republic. 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, because of 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 church. 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.
In the year 1628, with the invasion of Prague by the Saxons and the Swedes, the Carmelites fled the monastery and devotion to the Child Jesus ceased.
Upon the Carmelites return to Prague in 1637, Father Cyril discovered the statue buried in the ruins of the Church of the Virgin Mary the Victorious. Father Cyril cleaned the statue and placed it in an honorable place in the church. One day, while praying in front of the statue of the Child Jesus, he heard the Child Jesus speak:
"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."
Startled by this revelation, Father Cyril noticed for the first time that the statue’s hands had been damaged. Father Cyril approached the pastor to request permission to have the statue repaired but the monastery was too poor to be able to afford such an endeavor.
Within a short time, a wealthy man visited Prague and fell very ill. Father Cyril was called to the dying man’s side. The dying man recovered his health miraculously, through the merits of the Holy Child Jesus. The man offered Father Cyril financial assistance to repair the statue’s hands. Father Cyril used the donated money to buy a new statue, instead of repairing the old one. On the first day of its public veneration, a candlestick fell on the new statue and shattered it. Father Cyril felt interiorly that this was an indication that the Child Jesus wanted the old statue fixed.
Father Cyril then prayed to the Blessed Virgin for the funds needed to repair the statue. He heard an interior voice telling him to place the statue at the entrance of the sacristy. (A room in a church where sacred vessels and vestments are kept.) Shortly thereafter, a man offered to repair the statue, free of charge.
Finally, the repaired statue was placed in the church. At that time, there was a pestilence that killed many people in Prague. The pastor of the church himself fell ill to the disease and nearly died. He promised to spread devotion to the Infant of Prague, if he regained his health, which he did. A general devotion, in which all of the religious participated, took place.
Throughout the years, many miracles have been attributed to the Infant of Prague. The statue itself was moved to a magnificent shrine within the church. The popularity of the Child Jesus spread to other countries in the eighteenth century. Placing the child Jesus in the churches is one of the most powerful and famous devotions to the Child Jesus in the world.
Pope Leo XIII, confirmed the devotion of the Infant of Prague in 1896 and granted many indulgences.
The Association of Confraternity (a society devoted too) of The Infant Jesus of Prague was erected in 1913 under the guidance of the Carmelite friars by Pope St. Pius X. The purpose of the Association is to pray to The Divine Infant, to place all members under the protection of the Divine Infant, to promote devotion to The Infant Jesus of Prague, and to teach people the Gospel.