The Holy Dumpster Of Rockaway Beach

I texted my father right away when I saw the Child of Prague appeared at the far end of the path in my garden. He said, “Paula, this is a gift from God!” I said, “Dad, it is actually a gift from my friend Teresa.”

Tony’s on Knickerbocker Avenue* is Teresa Farrell’s favorite pizza joint in the city. She wears an Italian horn around her neck, so obviously she knows what the deal is. Above the dough-making counter sits a precious, 17 inch, flamboyantly dressed Child of Prague statue. Sometimes, Teresa and I interchange the figure’s given name with “The Child of Pizza.” 

After Teresa took me to Tony’s a couple of months ago, she generously gave me a one inch Infant Child of Prague to commemorate our evening. He lives in my kitchen, just like the one at Tony’s. For that reason, when the “larger” statue appeared in my garden, I had a premonition that it was set forth by Teresa, not God… Six of one?

My Father called me shortly after I shared the exciting news about the sanctified presence. He said receiving this statue is a very special blessing, especially since it was found in my garden. The Irish place the Child of Prague outside a brides home before her wedding, to ensure a sunny day. I’m not sure how this applies to me, but I like sunshine, and the sun makes tomato plants pop, so there’s that.

Child of Prague Garden

 The physical significance of the King Child’s smallness reminds us of the fragility of humanity. It calls us to be humble; to practice humility and through our days, express sincerity to our neighbors.

I asked my father if I should leave the Infant Child in the garden even though he is made of plaster and he’s wearing satin. I feel the garden is where Teresa and God wants him to be. Dad became alarmed!  He said, “Bring the delicate child inside!” In an effort to convince me, he continued, “Jesus’ red cloak will match your kitchen. He’ll look nice on top of your refrigerator.” I can’t decide what to do. As of now, he lives outside in the garden but I take him inside when it rains.

People around town, in the know, know about the holy dumpster. The container in Rockaway Beach was filled with hundreds of Catholic relics. The treasure trove is a mystery, and so, the chosen ones, recognized the dumpster as a divine community gift, filled with miracles. This is where my Child of Prague emerged from. The significance of its dumpster origin is mind-blowing actually. 

Why? In the 17th century, during the Thirty Years’ War, after the Saxon’s left Prague in plundered, the holy statue – said to have belonged to the Spanish mystic Teresa of Ávila –  was rediscovered in the monastery by monks, in a pile of trash. The figure’s hand was broken. Today, it is very common and accepted that The Child of Prague is displayed with broken parts, as mine lives.

Pray to the Blessed Child of Prague when you feel shattered. Offer prayers for children who are victims of violence or abuse and for broken families and relationships. Seek hope from the Infant Jesus for people struggling financially and for those who are emotionally or spiritually impoverished and for people who suffer social injustices. 

January 14 is the Feast of the Infant Jesus of Prague which celebrates the mystery of the Incarnation.

*There are two Tony’s on Knickerbocker Ave. (So New York) Go to the one on the corner, with the blessed pizza.




tagged in garden, pizza