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Convert from Mormonism may be on way to canonized sainthood

The following story appeared in the January 13 Idaho Catholic Register.

Cora Louise Evans


The U.S. Catholic bishops voted to advance the causes for sainthood for three American women on Wednesday: a mother and Catholic convert from Mormonism considered to be a mystic; a young campus FOCUS missionary who struggled with cancer, and a religious sister who ministered to the poor and to the African American community.


During their fall general assembly in Baltimore last November, the U.S. bishops supported advancing on the local level the causes of beatification and canonization for Servants of God Cora Louise Evans, Michelle Duppong, and Mother Margaret Mary Healy-Murphy.


Under Church law, diocesan bishops promoting a sainthood cause must consult with the regional bishops before the cause can advance.


Cora Evans was born July 9, 1904 and was raised as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


She married Maclellan (“Mack”) Evans in the well-known Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City. That event was the turning point in her life. She later claimed that the ceremony left her disillusioned and disappointed with her faith, especially the doctrine that elevated men to the same godhood as the God of Abraham.


“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. After ten years of searching, we found the One True God in the Roman Catholic Church,” she said.


In the decade that followed, Cora and Mack had three children. When they suffered the loss of their child, Bobby, when he was 10 months old, Cora looked into many religions for comfort and consolation. Her upbringing prevented her from inquiring about Catholicism.


On December 9, 1934, while living in Ogden, Cora was ill in bed and the radio was on the other side of the room. Alone and too ill to get out of bed to change the station when the “Catholic Hour” began broadcasting, Cora listened to Monsignor Duane Hunt talk about the Blessed Mother and the teachings of the Catholic faith. His message conflicted with the negative stories Cora had been told about Catholics.


As soon as she recovered from her illness, she went to nearby St. Joseph Catholic Church to inquire about the faith. Her inquiry led to a series of meetings, including debates in her home between the parish priest, Reverend Edward Vaughn, and several Mormon bishops. Cora appreciated Father Vaughn’s demeanor and the clarity of his responses to questions about Catholic doctrine.


Cora was baptized into the Catholic Church on March 30, 1935 and received her first Holy Communion the next day. Her husband and daughters, LaVonne and Dorothy, followed her lead a few months later.


Cora influenced many Mormons to visit St. Joseph Catholic Church, inviting them to open house gatherings, and years later, Father Vaughn wrote a letter confirming that through Cora’s evangelization efforts, there were hundreds of conversions of Mormons to the Catholic faith.


In 1941, the family decided to move to California because her husband faced religious and cultural prejudices while trying to hold a job. Five years later, in 1946, Cora said that Jesus asked her to promulgate the mystical humanity of Christ, or, as the website for her cause describes, “a way of prayer that encourages people to live with a heightened awareness of the indwelling presence of Jesus in their daily lives.”


In addition to her mystical experiences, Cora is considered to have had the ability to bilocate – to appear in two places at once – and to have suffered from the stigmata, Christ’s wounds on the cross present in her own flesh.


She died exactly 22 years after her baptism, on March 30, 1957, in Boulder Creek, Calif.

The cause of beatification and canonization of the Servant of God Cora Louis Evans was formally opened in June 2010. The website for her canon-ization cause is coraevans.com.


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