Ermita del Nen Jesús de Praga
The hermitage of Nen Jesús de Praga (Infant Jesus of Prague) is located on a small hill known as “La Roca d’en Pla”, from where you can see beautiful views. It belongs to the parish of Sant Mateu de Joanet, Arbúcies, today under pastoral and administrative care of the parish of Sant Hilari Sacalm.
La Roca d’en Pla was subject of small excavations during the 1920s. Some prehistoric remains and flint tips were found in there.
The reason why there is a hermitage dedicated to Infant Jesus of Prague is because in Spain, in general, this figure was much revered, but there was no place dedicated to him where to pray. It is important to highlight that the model in Sant Hilari is painted, it doesn’t wear a suite of clothes and the crown is the size of the head (unlike the original one).
The hermitage has a single nave which is 7 metres long, 4.6 metres wide and 4 metres high. It also has a porch on one side to the north, and neo-Gothic features. It has a bell-gable and two pinnacles on either side.
In 1909, there was already a project to build a hermitage dedicated to Nen Jesús de Praga, but for some economic reasons, it was not until 15th May 1911 when the construction began. It was thanks to the donations asked by Father Joan Muntalt, who put a lot of devotion and faith in order to see the hermitage finished.
The first mass was celebrated on 24th October that year, but there was only the apse, the presbytery and the sacristy. A bell-gable was soon built too.
In 1912, a Romeria de les flors (the pilgrimage of flowers) was organised and gathered people from different towns, and civil and religious authorities. In 1917, works were restarted by building the side walls following J. Martorell’s plans.
The first idea was to turn the place into a resting area with a park next to the hermitage, a Sunday leisure building, an entrance, a lounge, toilets, a kitchen, an office to sell religious souvenir, and some bedrooms on the second floor.
In 1918, Father Joan Muntalt gave the statue of Infant Jesus to the altar (made in Salesians Sarrià workshops). Some years later, he died and his works were delayed again due to economic reasons. Later, Father Santiago Ripoll Codina guarded the hermitage, the same person in charge of the monthly magazine Jesús de Praga y San Hilari (published from 1922 to 1931). There was also a group of young women who went there every day. They organised meetings and parties for people from different towns and groups, and got some donations, especially from summer visitors.
Finally, in the 1920s, the Canela family gave the money needed to finish the lateral walls, the porch and cover it, and put the stained glass on the windows.
During the war, the hermitage was desecrated and, later, the worship place was restored by moving the bell-gable which used to be behind the hermitage, and was placed in front of it after the war. In 1973, there was some important remodelling and, in 1982, the bell-gable was damaged due to a lightning.
Nowadays, it is not known for its religious or festive charm, but for being a place where people go on a short excursion. The route takes about 45 minutes and goes up the hermitage. Moreover, it has a viewpoint just behind the building. Further information.
Furthermore, there is a legend related to thie place known as La Roca d’en Pla.
EVENTS AND CELEBRATIONS
There is a gathering on Pentecost Monday.