After thorough review of the writings of Cora Evans, the story of her life and the heroic choices she made, the untold personal sacrifices and the suffering she endured for the cause of our Catholic faith, we are convinced of her creditability and concluded: Cora Evans was commissioned by Our Lord to promote the Mystical Humanity of Christ as way of prayer for the faithful throughout the world.
We conducted an extensive examination of Cora's outstanding evangelical virtues, combined with an abundance of eyewitness statements, the vast number of accounts written about her, and the testimony of her distinguished spiritual director affirming her mission.
Her story includes the hundreds of Mormon conversions to Catholicism she personally influenced, the impact she had on the spiritual lives of people, the effect the Mystical Humanity as a way of prayer continues to have on the lives of thousands of the faithful today. Her mystical gifts serve as an additional sign of authenticity, and included in the story of her remarkable life are the miracles attributed to her intercession.
For all these reasons, the Church accepted our petition and opened the cause for Cora Evans – it will benefit the Universal Church.
Cora Louise Evans was born in 1904, and she passed away March 30, 1957. Her first mystical experience, an apparition of the Blessed Mother, was at the age of three. Many years would pass before she understood the vision. It is the lead story in the autobiography of her mystical life, Captain of the Ship.
She was raised a Mormon and was married at the well-known Mormon temple in Salt Lake City. That event was the turning point in her life. She left the secret ceremony disenchanted with Mormonism, especially the doctrine that placed man-made gods above the God of Abraham. She began a ten-year search for the truth, which culminated with her conversion to the Catholic faith.
The life story of Cora Evans, wife and mother, is that of a remarkable mystic who practiced Christian virtues (faith, hope and charity) and earned a reputation for holiness. Cora's gifts of mysticism: the odor of sanctity, suffering the wounds of Christ – stigmata – and magnificent writings are not, in and of themselves, sufficient grounds for the declaration of sainthood. It is the story of her life with the proof of heroic virtues that place everything else in context.
Cora Evans was commissioned by Our Lord to write the things that were made known to her for the good of the Universal Church. Her writings introduce the devotion to Christ in His Mystical Humanity, a way of prayer life both ancient and new.
The Mystical Humanity of Christ calls upon the faithful to live with a heightened awareness of the living indwelling presence of the resurrected Christ in their daily lives. It is a daily spiritual communion that draws the individual to Sacramental communion, the Eucharist, with greater frequency.
Saints are known by their stories and the story of Cora Evans is a journey from her early years in Utah, and her first mystical experience, to her time in Southern California under the spiritual direction of Father Frank Parrish, S.J.
Her marriage in the Mormon temple in Salt Lake City had a profound impact on her life and led her beautiful conversion story
Cora was looking forward to her marriage with great anticipation. She had read on the temple door that the temple proper was the House of God and she thought she would "see God in the confines of the temple walls." No one would tell her anything about the ceremony itself other than her grandmother who told her she would be assisted in the process.
Before entering the temple for the first time for their marriage no Mormon has the slightest idea about what will take place in the ritual. It is a secret. In her account of the experience Cora wrote, "I was a true loyal Mormon at the hour of entering the temple, but nearly a confirmed atheist when I left the temple building after the marriage ceremony."
Cora and Mack were married. There had been no flowers, no music, and no ring.
They left the temple at 4:30 p.m. Mack gave Cora the wedding ring in the tunnel room on the way out. Cora found the whole Temple ritual a farce and unsavory. She considered Mormonism a sex-oriented, polytheist religion based on fear and secrecy to vows taken with unholy oaths under threats. Cora's comment summed up her feelings about her wedding day, "I was without a God and religion, but had gained a very wonderful husband. As I looked at him and learned to love him more and more I resolved to help find a God for him."
July 9, 1904 Birth of Cora Louise Evans
1912 Mormon Baptism
June 4, 1924 Marriage in Mormon Temple, Salt Lake City
September 24, 1925 Birth of Cora's first child, Cora LaVonne Evans
January 23, 1928 Birth of son, Robert Evans
October 13, 1928 Death of son Robert
March 9, 1930 Birth of daughter, Dorothy Ruth Evans
It was during this time that Cora picked up the Bible and searched for answers. She had no interest in reading the Book of Mormon and she found comfort in reading Scripture. She had studied almost every religion. Because of the deep prejudice and fear instilled from early childhood Cora ignored the study of Catholicism.
On Sunday, December 9, 1934, Cora was quite ill. Mack bundled her in warm blankets and gave her a hot water bottle before he left for work. He turned the radio to station KSL, a program of music. LaVonne was home and able to help out with their younger child Dorothy so Cora could rest. As a rule, when the radio program switched from music to the Catholic Hour Cora would change the station. On this occasion she was too ill to get out of bed. She had to endure listening to Monsignor Duane Hunt (Later he would become the Most Reverend Duane Hunt, Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City). He spoke of Mary as the Mother of God (the humanity of Christ) and quoted Isaiah in preparation for Christmas, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel," (Is 7:14); "For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rest. . . His dominion is vast and forever peaceful," (Is 9:5-6).
Cora was disgusted that a religion could honor a mere woman and angered by the notion that Catholic's were Mary worshipers. She resolved to confront a Catholic Priest as soon as she recovered. A few weeks later she phoned the rectory at Saint Joseph Catholic Church and spoke to the assistant pastor, Father William E. Vaughn (later he would become Monsignor Vaughn and be assigned Pastor, Saint Ambrose Parish, Salt Lake City). He offered to visit her house and respond to her questions in person.
In reflecting on his meeting with Cora, Monsignor Vaughn later wrote, "She had become disillusioned with the L.D.S. religion. She declared that she was systematically studying all religions. The first session with Mrs. Evans was a long one and we talked of many things including the Holy Trinity. The L.D.S. religion has a very pagan approach to the Trinity and the Catholic teaching in its total spirituality is especially hard for them to grasp." Cora interested in learning more about the phrase "Immaculate Conception of Mary," and they decided to meet again.
Mack was angry that a Catholic Priest would actually be invited to enter their home. What would their Mormon neighbors think? His response was to invite Mormon Elders to come to their home and pray over Cora. And he demanded equal time for Mormon Elders if the priest visited again. During his second visit, Father Vaughn talked about the Blessed Mother and the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. He called it the "True Presence" and spoke of the indwelling presence of Christ and told Cora that Catholics received Him even daily. Cora began to see how his words fit with her childhood experiences. Cora wanted to learn more and Father Vaughn invited her to come by the Church and avail herself of the many pamphlets in the vestibule rack. That evening the Elders made their second visit and prayed over Cora. Cora challenged them regarding the Trinity and quoted the Bible: Jesus said He was one with the Father (see Jn 17: 21). Joseph Smith said they were two separate Gods with body, parts and passions (Book of Mormon). The more the Elders talked the more confused they became by their own arguments until they finally left.
One evening Cora asked Mack to take her to Saint Joseph Church to pick up a few pamphlets. Here is how Monsignor Vaughn tells the story, "It took a lot of courage for her to ring that doorbell that evening. She and her husband, Mack Evans, sat in their car for 45 minutes trying to work up the courage to go in. They even talked about passing by this religion in their search for the truth. Finally, Mack lost his courage and remained in the car while she came in alone."
Cora picked out a few pamphlets. She was captivated by the interior beauty of the Church. She prayed for understanding. The angel lady had told Cora to always pray for Mormons. Now she understood that Mormons were in need of prayers.
She and Mack decided to enroll in a convert and inquiry class. Three months later, on Saturday, March 30, 1935, Father Vaughn officiated at the Baptism of Cora Evans and her two children. On Sunday, she received her first Holy Communion at Mass.
In his letter, Monsignor wrote, "She was especially attracted to the teachings of the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Mother. Her life became centered on the Blessed Sacrament and she began spending time in prayer at the church. In her subsequent apostolic work she spoke of these two favorite teachings with much greater depth than I had taught her."
Three months later, Mack was baptized a Catholic. The Elders had told them their skin would turn black if they became Catholics. Obviously, this was another falsehood, but they were about to experience a different manner of hardship because they were rejected by Mormon family members and viewed as outcast among former friends. Mack's business eroded. It is difficult for people living outside of Utah to understand the sacrifices made by converts from Mormonism in Utah.