Wife and mother who experienced visions put on path to becoming first saint from California
There are currently only twelve Catholic saints from the U.S.
Housewife Cora Evans lived quietly in Boulder Creek in the Santa Cruz mountains in California 56 years ago. She remains largely unknown, but experienced feverish visions of Jesus and bore the Stigmata. She's now on the path to become the first catholic saint from California.
Originally raised a Mormon in Utah, Cora Evans left her original faith to convert to Catholicism in her twenties. She had her first holy vision at the age of three.
Evans' 83-year-old daughter recalls her mother receiving the stigmata, marks which resemble the wounds of Jesus Christ on the cross. Two family friends of Evans' extended family are now working with the Vatican to help her be canonized.
Cora Evans, who was educated only to middle school standard said she experienced powerful visions of Jesus, other saints, and claimed to have visited heaven and purgatory. Raised a Mormon in Utah, Evans left her original faith and joined the Catholic church in her twenties.
Her visions began at the age of three and she claimed to have had seen Jesus who gave her the mission to promote the "Mystical Humanity of Christ," based around the idea that Christ is always within us and that we should behave towards one another in the manner that Jesus would have.
Her first mystical experience was an apparition of the Virgin Mary and as well as experiencing the painful stigmata she would often face down her skeptics.
"I would hear people say when they came to the house, 'Who is this woman? She must be a kook. Nobody sees these kinds of things," her daughter Dorothy Evans told reporters. "But isn't that human nature? We want to see it and touch it ourselves in order to believe it."
Declaring Evans a "Servant of God," the Catholic Church has initiated the first step of four on the path to her becoming a fully fledged saint.
Two miracles need to be identified and attributed to Evans' intercession after her death in 1957 for sainthood to be bestowed. That process could take years or even decades. This is because the miracles may not yet have taken place.
Cousins Michael McDevitt and Michael Huston are working closely with the Vatican to ensure that Evans does obtain sainthood.
"There are theologians reading her writings. We are in the process of gathering testimony's from people who were eyewitnesses," Michael McDevitt, custodian of Cora Evans' writings says.
"What it means for our church community is that there is somebody right here in California who lived a life of virtue and sanctity that may one day become a saint."
The process by which someone becomes a saint is called canonization. The pope does not make someone a saint, as the moniker of sainthood only recognizes what God has already done on Earth.
The process of becoming a Catholic saint is long and arduous and can take centuries to achieve.
The first step is for a local bishop to read writings of the intended saint. If they feel it to be sufficiently virtuous, they are sent to the Vatican and the individual interned as a Servant of God.
The second is for the Congregation for the Cause of Saints to begin an investigation into the possible saints life.Thirdly, if the panel agrees the Pope will confer the status venerable on the person. Fourthly is the status known as beatification, which occurs when a posthumous miracle is proven.In the final step, for sainthood to be recognized, a second posthumous miracle must be proven.
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