BY ANTHONY BARICH
The grandmother of 20 whose cure from cancer was attributed to the miraculous intercession of Blessed Mary MacKillop has spoken to Australian media for the first time about her experience.
Kathleen Evans, 66, of Windale, whose identity had been closely guarded, spoke at the Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel in Sydney on Monday about the events that led to the second miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Mary, who will be canonised in Rome this year on a date not yet confirmed.
Surrounded by her husband Barry, two of her five children, Annette and Luke, and members of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart – the order founded by Blessed Mary – Mrs Evans, the greatgrandmother of two, told how she had smoked since the age of 16 but had stopped in 1990.
Three years later she was diagnosed with cancer – a particularly aggressive tumour in her right lung that quickly spread to her glands. Within a few months another tumour was found on her brain. She was told it was inoperable and that chemotherapy and radiation were considered pointless.
“Besides, the odds were just not worth it,” she said. “I was only given a couple of months at the most to live so I said, ‘Thanks but no thanks.’ All I had left was prayer. I was a great believer in prayer. “The next few weeks were hard times. I was unable to stay out of bed for any length of time. I would get the shakes so bad that my husband would have to lay on me to ease them down.” She said she could not bathe or shower or use the toilet on her own; she suffered from night sweats and struggled to breathe at times. “I was in a bad way,” she said.
A friend gave her a picture of Mother MacKillop with a piece of her clothing attached with some prayer cards from the St Joseph Sisters, so Mrs Evans, her family and her parish all began praying.
“I’m not one to be on my knees all the time or think I’ll go to hell if I miss Mass,” said Mrs Evans, but confirmed she does attend church regularly. Within two weeks she was able to attend a retreat. After four months her doctor called for more tests “because, as he said, I just shouldn’t be here”.
Ten months after her original diagnosis she was told there was no sign of the cancer, just some scarring where the tumours had been; and though doctors heavily scrutinised her medical records, she has no doubt about what saved her.
“I do believe in miracles,” she said, adding that she talks to Blessed Mary all the time in prayer and hopes to go to Rome for the canonisation ceremony. “So after all this time I can say I’m still here and very well and enjoying life to the fullest.”