Who Was Cora Evans?
Wife. Mother. Mystic: that’s how Cora Evans is known today, especially on this platform, dedicated to her cause for canonization. The main website holds a treasure trove of information about this holy woman. But she did not begin her life as one would expect of a 20th century Catholic woman now on the path towards canonization. Servant of God Cora Evans was born Cora Yorgason in Utah in 1904. Her parents were Mormon and she was duly brought up to be a good, devout Mormon girl. Her whole world was surrounded by and steeped in the Morman way of life. She knew nothing else. But early in life, Jesus and Mary would make a claim on her: she had an inexplicable vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the age of three which she would be unable to make sense of it until many years later. Other than this bewildering mystical experience, her early life was rather ordinary. She married Maclellan Evans in 1924 at the well known Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was this wedding, though not this marriage, that would be the beginning of unraveling her lifelong association to Mormonism. The secretive and strange wedding ceremony left her disenchanted with the Mormon faith that was all she had ever known.
For ten long years she researched different religions and denominations. She found nothing that satisfied her thirst for truth. In the fall of 1934 she was at home alone one day when the Catholic hour came on the radio with a monsignor who would later become the local bishop. Bedbound by an illness, Cora was unable to get up and turn off the radio which is what she would have normally done. In her years of searching she had always brushed off Catholicism due to lies told to her in her upbringing about the Catholic faith. After listening to this unexpected radio hour, she was intrigued. She heard something in the words of the priest that spoke to her heart. Cora inquired about Catholicism at her local parish and went on to be received into the Church several months later. Her husband and children converted in the months following her. She would go on to convince some thousand Mormons to come to her parish and more than a few converted through her friendship and introduction to Catholicism. What a testament to the power of evangelizing through modern technology: all this openness to the Truth initially came about through one hour of Catholic radio with a faithful and devout priest.
Following her conversion, Cora became deeply entrenched in mystical prayer. She not only wanted to be devout, she wanted the utmost closeness to our Lord. She began to experience what we call ecstasy - mystical union with our Lord in prayer. In 1938, Cora experienced what she would go on to call her “vow day” - the day she completed committed herself to the Lord’s will, whatever he might ask of her.
The many conversions and the upset in their local Mormon community led Cora, Mac, and their children as outcasts in the area they had spent their entire lives. It affected their social circles and Maclellan’s job. For the sake of their families well-being, the Evans family chose to pack up and move from Utah to California in 1941.
In the years that followed, Cora would experience Christ in ways many cradle Catholics can only dream (or read) about. God granted Cora the graces of many and various mystical experiences. These mystical experiences included visions of the life of Christ, what she called the “divine slumber” - ecstasy during which her body was as still as death and immobile, emitting the fragrance of roses from her person, and having in her body the wounds of Christ, the stigmata. In 1946, Cora received her mission from the Lord—she was to spread devotion to the Mystical Humanity of Christ.
Through experiences of ecstasy and grand visions of the life of Christ, Cora was taught more and more by Christ what his Mystical Humanity was. She sought refuge in his presence in the Holy Eucharist through daily Mass and Eucharistic Adoration. She clung to his side when he appeared to her. She spent many hours in prayer seeking to be in the presence of the one whom her soul loved. During this time she sought and was appointed spiritual direction under Fr. Frank Parrish, S.J., who spent many hours with Cora during her ecstasies.
Though receiving bewildering and beautiful insights into the life of our Lord, Cora remained humble and strictly obedient to the directives of Christ in her ecstatic experiences and through her spiritual director. The Lord compelled Cora to write, write, write. In spite of receiving a rudimentary education due to childhood illness, Cora went on to write boxes full of typed manuscripts describing what Jesus said to her and showed her during ecstasy. She did not ask for this task. She felt it was beyond her. And it was. It was through the inspiration of God that this work was made possible. These manuscripts are available today through the Mystical Humanity of Christ Publishing, which is dedicated to making Cora’s lifework available to all.
Cora’s life was dedicated to following Christ wherever he led. She was not extraordinary in personal gifts. She was not extraordinary in worldly goods. She was primarily a wife, a mother, a homemaker, a friend. She was an ordinary person, called to receive extraordinary graces for the salvation of souls. Cora was only a woman who sought truth. She found Him. And the desire to know and love him better was never quenched. He granted her the extraordinary graces to know and love him in mystical experiences that the whole world might benefit by knowing and loving him more and more. Jesus told her he would spread the message of his Mystical Humanity throughout the world if she would be his reporter and write what he told her to write. Now, devotion is spreading around the world as more and more people become aware of Cora Evans and her message of love for the Mystical Humanity of Christ.