Compelled by Our Lord to Write
How is it that a faithful Catholic would have the willingness to write a story that gives new voice to the life and experiences of Jesus Christ? The important question here is motivation. Cora Evans felt compelled by our Lord to write and at the same time felt wholly unqualified to take on such a task. Due to childhood illnesses, she never completed a full schedule of elementary school, and with less than two years of high school her education was rudimentary at best. Add to that, she was thirty years old before she had any exposure to the Catholic faith and she passed away at age fifty-six. It is what transpired during the years following her conversion that is truly remarkable.
A mystic and a visionary, Cora was called up into the deepest state of prayer known as ecstasy and rapture, but what our Lord preferred to have known as Divine Slumber. It is a pure gift from God and the source of all private revelation. Because the revelation is private there is no burden of belief on Catholics to accept it.
Cora's diary reveals that our Lord entrusted her with the responsibility to write. She suffered greatly for the privilege. After an experience of ecstasy, which might last for many hours, Cora would sit at the typewriter and attempt to capture the stories revealed to her.
Writing for the Greater Glory of God
Prior to writing The Refugee from Heaven, Cora Evans expressed her gratitude to our Lord: "I knelt in prayer to thank Jesus for His gift of knowledge and for the gift of writing He had given me, better to describe His life and infinite love into our world."
Cora prayed about the graces bestowed on her, the craft of writing, and the responsibility of accurately conveying our Lord's wishes: "My soul gives Thee thanks for this great trust, and in that trust I believe Thou will help me write the knowledge for souls to use as a steppingstone to love Thee more.
God's gifts were so clearly caught up into my soul, there to write them for His glory for souls on earth. To begin such a task is only to lose myself in the mystery of time and pretend that I am a citizen of Jerusalem taking notes from the Master's lips. I am just the reporter and of myself filled with many imperfections." She continued: "To understand, Beloved, the path of my mission would be to say with deepest sincerity, not my will be done, but Thine." She always positioned writing as "an act of continuous praise for the glory of God."
Only God Can Make a Saint
Saints are known by their stories. Their lives were given freely to the Lord in response to the circumstances at the time, and for the good of the whole Church. They did not ask for or expect to be in the situations in which they found themselves. These men and women radiated the holiness of God dwelling within them. It is the story of their lives, how they responded to grace, their impact on others, combined with God's proof by miracles in their name that led the pope to declare, "We know for certain this person is with God in Heaven."
Only God can make a saint. At this stage there is no certainty that Cora Evans will become a canonized saint. Today, she is a Servant of God , and her cause is under way in the Diocese of Monterey, California.
Cora Evans was born July 9, 1904, and she passed away March 30, 1957. Her first mystical experience, an apparition of the Blessed Mother, took place when she was three years old. It was an event she could not fully comprehend and would never forget. Many years would pass before she understood the vision and the message.
Cora was raised a Mormon and was married to Maclellan Evans in the well-known Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah. That event was the turning point in her life. She left the secret ceremony disillusioned and disappointed with Mormonism, especially the doctrine that placed manmade gods above 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."
Suffering the Loss of a Child
During the ten years that followed the marriage ceremony, Cora and Mack had three children. They suffered the loss of a child, Bobby, when he was ten months old. Cora investigated many religions, but believed it would be a waste of time to even inquire about Catholicism. Although she no longer considered herself a Mormon, she held on to pervasive anti-Catholic warnings she learned growing up in Utah.
On December 9, 1934, Cora was quite ill. The family lived in Ogden, Utah, at the time. Cora was in bed and the radio was on the other side of the room. No one was home and she was too sick to get out of bed to change the station when the Catholic Hour began broadcasting. Despite her aversion to Catholicism, Cora was forced to listen 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, Cora went to nearby St. Joseph Catholic Church to inquire about the faith and have her questions answered. This was a courageous move for a former Mormon. A series of meetings followed, including debates in her home between the parish priest, Father Edward Vaughn, and several Mormon bishops. Cora quickly became aware of the truth of Christianity and the obvious false stories told about Catholics. She appreciated Father Vaughn's demeanor and the clarity of his responses to questions about Catholic doctrine. Cora was baptized March 30, 1935, and received her first Holy Communion the next day. Mack and their daughters, LaVonne and Dorothy, followed her lead a few months later.
Cora influenced many Mormons to visit St. Joseph's, inviting them to open house gatherings. 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.
Vow Day for a Mystic
In July 1938, she had a profound mystical experience. Cora wrote about this event in the autobiography of her mystical life, titled "Captain of the Ship." During this deep ecstasy Cora made the choice to serve God for the rest of her life. She described the state of her soul as being intimately united to God, and referred to this as her vow day: "It was necessary for me to live my chosen vocation with Him as my companion. By loaning Jesus my humanity for Him to govern as well as dwell within, would make my life a living prayer for He was life, living life within me, and my body now dead to me was His living cross, His cross to take to Calvary, Calvary, the door to eternal life."
The Move to Southern California and Spiritual Guidance
Due to religious and cultural prejudices, it was virtually impossible for Cora's husband, also a convert, to hold down a job. In 1941 the family moved to Southern California. In retrospect, I recognize this as God's plan. Cora began having mystical experiences with much greater frequency. In response to her search for spiritual guidance, on February 20, 1945, Father Frank Parrish, S.J.  was appointed her confessor and spiritual director by the Provincial  of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). The meeting took place at Loyola High School in Los Angeles.
The Mission Entrusted to Cora by Our Lord
On December 24, 1946, Jesus revealed the mission entrusted to Cora. She learned that she was to promulgate the Mystical Humanity of Christ, a way of prayer that encourages people to live with a heightened awareness of the indwelling presence of Jesus in their daily lives. It is Eucharistic spirituality, and Jesus promised to foster the devotion.
Father Frank served as the spiritual guide of Cora's soul for the rest of her life. His written account of events is testimony to Cora's heroic virtues and her reputation of sanctity.
Cora is considered a hidden mystic, and although there were many friends, including priests and religious, she was not known publically. There are many examples of visionaries who where unknown at the time of their death, including Saints Margaret Mary (devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus), Catherine Laboure (Miraculous Medal), and Sister Faustina (Divine Mercy). Like these women, there was never any publicity about Cora's private revelation.
The life story of Cora Evans, wife and mother, is that of a remarkable woman who practiced Christian virtues and earned a reputation for holiness. She became a daily communicant and one of her favorite devotions was the Stations of the Cross. At times she would say the stations in reverse, mirroring the way the Blessed Mother saw them as she walked home from the crucifixion.
Cora Suffers the Stigmata
Cora's gifts of mysticism: suffering the wounds of Christ, known as the stigmata; the phenomena of bi-location associated with deep insight, a mystical gift not fully understood; the fragrance of roses associated with her presence, known as the odor of sanctity; visionary experiences, known as ecstasy; and profound writings far beyond her education level 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 places everything else in context.
Declared Servant of God
The Vatican granted nihil obstat  for the cause for Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God, Cora Evans. The Diocese of Monterey, California, is proceeding with the investigation of her life and writings.
Prayer for the Intercession of Cora Evans
Cora prayed that she would be given the same gift as Saint Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, spending her heaven on earth doing good, and promised to pray for all who asked for her intercession after first visiting the Blessed Sacrament. The Archbishop of San Francisco granted the Imprimatur  for the intercessory prayer, written by Father Frank Parrish, S.J.
Dear Jesus, You blessed Cora Evans with many supernatural mystical gifts as a means of drawing us to a deeper and more intimate union with your Sacred Heart through Your Divine Indwelling, Your Mystical Humanity. I ask You through her intercession to help me in my special request (name the favor) and my efforts to do Your will here on earth and be with You, Your Blessed Mother, Saint Joseph and the whole Court of Heaven forever.
Say three times: the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father
Insight and Profound Questions
There is new, never before revealed, information in The Refugee from Heaven. Many questions arise and remain unanswered at this point in time. Will the swaddling clothes be uncovered? Will the place of prayer build by John the Baptist be found? Is the body of John the Baptist incorrupt? Does this book lend support for the Shroud of Turin? And the most profound revelation of all: Will the Church finally locate the Holy Grail? Cora provides new details of historical and archaeological significance. And what are we to make of Cora's interpretation of the words spoken by Jesus, Mary, the apostles, and others? My answer: to the degree that you come closer to Christ, it is good. If anything causes doubt or concern, rely on Sacred Scripture.
Cora prayed, "Please give me the grace to remember the vision and understanding in Thy wisdom to better relate to friends Thy hidden mystery of love for them . . . help me, Jesus, to write them as You would like them written for Thy glory to be better known among men." The purpose of her life, the suffering she endured, and her writings inspire us to live with awareness of the presence of Jesus. When you practice this way of prayer, known as the Mystical Humanity of Christ, you take Jesus with you wherever you go.
Your comments are welcome and encouraged
Custodian for the Writings of Cora Evans
- 1. “A Catholic whose cause of beatification and canonization has been initiated is called Servant of God.” Sanctorum Mater, Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Title II, Article 4, February 22, 2007.
- 2. Most Reverend Duane G. Hunt (1884-1960), consecrated Bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, October 28, 1937. Bishop Hunt visited Cora in her home in Boulder Creek, California, shortly before she passed away in 1957.
- 3. Fr. Frank Parrish, S.J. (1911 - 2003) is best known in Catholic circles for his blessing of terminally ill Fr. John A. Houle, S.J. with the relic of Blessed Claude la Colombiere on February 23, 1990. This led to a miraculous cure – a first class miracle. Colombiere, who had been the spiritual director of Saint Margaret Mary, was declared a saint and canonized by Pope John Paul II, May 31, 1992.
- 4. Fr. Joseph J. King, S.J. (1900 - 1986) served as provincial from January 1943 to August 1948. The geographic area served in 1945 included California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah.
- 5. Nihil obstat (Latin “Nothing stand in the way”) is a term used for the approval for a given process to proceed. Granted by Angelo Cardinal Amato, S.D.B., Prefect, Congregation for the Causes of Saintsem>, Rome, Italy. Letter March 29, 2012.
- 6. Imprimatur (Latin “it may be printed”) approval to publish given by diocesan bishop provides assurance that the published text conforms to Church teaching. Granted Most Reverend George Niederauer, Archbishop of San Francisco. Letter February 18, 2011.