A quiet, largely-unknown woman who died 56 years ago -- but had visions of God while entranced in a "coma-like state" -- is on her way to becoming the Catholic Church's first saint from California.
Cora Evans lived quietly in Boulder Creek, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. She wrote extensively of her visions, which were experienced in "deep states of prayer," the newspaper reported.
Her daughter, an 83-year old retired schoolteacher, remembers Evans experiencing the "stigmata" -- marks that resembled the wounds left when Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross -- and telling of visits to Jesus, Purgatory, heaven and talk with the saints, the newspaper reported.
In 1992, Evans's spiritual adviser passed on Evans's writing to his nephew, Mike McDevitt. In turn, McDevitt, 72, of Half Moon Bay, and Michael Huston, 65, of Saratoga, are now the chief pushers of Evans as a saint.
They've raised $700,000 to spread her name via retreats and to publish her writings, the newspaper reported.
Their efforts, including a pilgramage to Rome, have paid off: the Vatican declared Evans a "Servant of God" in 2012.
Designation as a "Servant of God" is the Catholic Church's first step on the road toward sainthood. The next step is to be declared "Venerable," a proclamation of the individual's heroic virtue. The third step beatifies the "Venerable," giving the individual the title of "Blessed."
That process could take decades. Finally, for Evans to be canonized a saint, two miracles must be attributed to her. In recent times, "miracle cures" have been the easiest to establish based on the church's requirements.
"Something is only very rarely accepted as a miracle," Bill Briggs, author of "The Third Miracle," told the Sentinel. "The church is all about scientific proof. The process is incredibly intensive, forensic and takes a very long time."