JACQUELINE MALEY – January 11, 2010 – 3:05PM
(photo from here)
The middle-aged Maitland mother whose cure from cancer was attributed to the miraculous intercession of Mother Mary Mackillop today spoke about her experience for the first time.
Kathleen Evans, 66, whose anonymity has been zealously guarded until now, spoke at the Mary MacKillop chapel in North Sydney this afternoon about her incredible survival.
Surrounded by her husband Barry, family members and sisters from the Josephite Order, the mother of five, grandmother of 20 and great-grandmother of two, told how she had smoked since the age of 16 but had given up in 1990, three years before she got the devastating news that at 49 she had cancer.
The tumour, in her right lung, was particularly aggressive and quickly spread to her glands. Within a few months a secondary cancer was found on her brain.
She was told it was inoperable and that chemotherapy and X-ray treatment were considered pointless.
«Besides,» she said, «the odds were just not worth it.
«‘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.»
A friend in the Hunter Valley gave her a picture of Mary MacKillop and a piece of her clothing, so Ms 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,» she said. But she is a regular churchgoer.
Far from getting worse, her condition improved and 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 any cancer – just some scarring where the tumours had been.
She left her home town five years ago and has been travelling around Australia to keep a low profile while the canonisation process takes its course.
She said she talks to Mackillop all the time and hopes to go to Rome for the ceremony.
In December her recovery was formally recognised as MacKillop’s second miracle, clearing the way for her canonisation, which is expected to occur in Rome this year.
The campaign for MacKillop’s canonisation began in 1926, 17 years after her death.
In 1995 her first miracle – the cure in 1961 of a woman with terminal leukaemia – was accepted by the Vatican and she was beatified.
Several other high-profile victims of illness or accident have attributed their recovery at least in part to MacKillop’s help.
The Catholic family of burns victim Sophie Delezio credits her medical progress to MacKillop.
When Irishman David Keohane woke from an eight-month coma following an assault in Sydney, his family attributed his recovery to months of prayers to MacKillop.