Cathleen Falsani immediately captivates her audience with her energetic passion and natural humor as she draws them into her deep pool of knowledge. She brings cultural relevance, spiritual depth, and firsthand experience to her topics.
An award-winning religion journalist and the new Faith & Values columnist for the Orange County Register in Southern California, in the context of faith, Cathleen has interviewed and written about many world-renowned personalities. From Bono, Anne Rice, and Barack Obama to Elie Wiesel, John Patrick Shanley, and Hugh Hefner, each has opened up to Cathleen about the most intimate parts of their life—what they believe, what they don’t, and why. Her writing offers a fresh, occasionally controversial, and always illuminating look at the beliefs that shape our culture and our lives.
A Connecticut native and granddaughter of Italian and Irish immigrants, Cathleen is a graduate of Wheaton College, the alma mater of the Rev. Billy Graham as well as horror film director Wes Craven. (She has a great affinity and admiration for both.) She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University as well as a master’s degree in theological studies from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. She was a 2009 Divinity School Media Fellow at Duke University, a Gralla Fellow in Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, and was the 1996 Stoody-West Fellow in Religious Journalism. She is currently in the process of discerning a call to return to seminary to pursue a Master of Divinity degree this time around.
Cathleen is a sought-after public speaker having presented lectures and talks at colleges, universities, civic organizations, houses of worship, and large faith-based conferences nationwide, including the Catalyst Conference, the Wild Goose Festival, Point Loma Nazarene University’s Symposium by the Sea, the National Pastors Convention, the Los Angeles Book Festival, the Festival of Faith and Music, and the Festival of Faith and Writing, St. James Episcopal Cathedral in Chicago, WomenChurch, Dominican University in Chicago, and California State University in Sacramento, to name just a few.
She is author of the critically acclaimed The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People (Farrar, Straus and Girox, 2006), Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace (Zondervan, 2008), The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers (Zondervan, 2009), BELIEBER: Fame, Faith and the Heart of Justin Bieber (Worthy Books, 2011), and the forthcoming Disquiet Time: Rants and Reflections on the Good Book by the Skeptical, the Faithful, and a Few Scoundrels (coedited with Jennifer Grant and published by Jericho Books, Fall 2014).
Cathleen was the religion writer and columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times from 2000 to January 2010, and a longtime contributor and columnist for Religion News Service. From August 2011 to December 2012, Cathleen was the Web Editor and Director of New Media for Sojourners, where she ran its popular God’s Politics blog. She also was a contributing editor and columnist for Sojourners magazine.
Cathleen has covered her diverse “God beat” from locations as far afield as Vatican City, Vedic City, Ireland, Germany, the Caribbean, the West Wing, the Playboy Mansion, and the dugout at Wrigley Field. She was honored as the 2005 James O. Supple Religion Writer of the Year by the Religion Newswriters Association, and has twice been a finalist for the Templeton Religion Reporter of the Year award.
Her work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Christianity Today and Christian Century magazines, as well as the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, the Toronto Star, Kansas City Star, Madison Capital Times, the Harvard Divinity School Bulletin, CNN.com, and other publications in North America and Europe. She has appeared as a commentator on CNN, Oprah Winfrey’s “Soul Series,” National Public Radio’s “The Story” and “Weekend Edition,” BBC World Service, FoxNewsChannel, Moody Radio, WGN-Radio, NPR’s “Day to Day,” The Tavis Smiley Show (on PBS), and a host of other radio and television venues.
Cathleen has been married to the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, Maurice Possley, since 1997. In 2009, after twenty years living in Chicago, they moved with their son, Vasco, to Laguna Beach, California. Vasco, who was born in Malawi in East-Central Africa, became a permanent part of the Possley family on June 1, 2010, when his adoption was approved by the High Court of Malawi in Blantyre.