June 25, 2010
Mission Statement & Biography
My primary mission as a daughter of God is to faithfully provide for the care and feeding of my husband, Mel, and my daughter, Cecilia. They are my life and my joy!
Second to that is my mission as a lay Catholic evangelist—a calling that has often surprised and delighted me. I give thanks to God for using me in this way, and I look forward to the continuing unfolding of this great adventure with Him.
If I had to boil down the essence of what I feel called to do, it is to encourage people—whether through music, storytelling, or teaching from the great Catholic spiritual writers and my own life experience. Tears in the audience (and occasionally from me) are not uncommon, and I consider them sacred. My audiences and I also laugh a lot, which I consider to be a true gift of the Holy Spirit. These audiences have ranged from women’s prayer breakfasts to Legatus groups to large family conferences.
My heart burns with a desire to share the riches of our Catholic faith, especially to lapsed or lukewarm Catholics. I submit myself to the teaching authority of the Magesterium of the Roman Catholic Church in matters of faith and morals, and I delight in her guidance.
Favorite topics include:
- My personal testimony (the one similar to the one on my Lighthouse CD, God Will Provide)
- The Eucharist (the center of my life!) and Adoration
- Authentic beauty
- Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence
- Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary (using 33 Days to Morning Glory
- Finding Time for God
- Finding Peace of Heart
- The Divine Mercy of Jesus
- The Secrets of the Rosary
- True Devotion to the Holy Spirit
- Making Sense of Suffering
I also enjoy being given particular topics to research and prepare, as well as being commissioned to write songs from particular quotes or themes. Some of my best material has come in this way.
By virtue of my baptism, I have been called to become an evangelist in a world where despair, godlessness, and violence cry out for a remedy. My job is to rally the troops and encourage them to do join me in this mission to bring the Good News to the ends of the earth, starting in our own hearts, homes and parishes.
In Christ, our Hope,
Singer/songwriter and inspirational speaker Kitty Cleveland began her professional career as a lawyer, university instructor and career counselor. But in an adoration chapel one day in 1998 during a devastating family crisis, she clearly heard the Lord call her to become a "music missionary."
Kitty enthusiastically heeded the call and has since released 11 CDs of music and prayer—including two CDs with Lighthouse Catholic Media. She has appeared numerous times on television, on the radio, in concert and as a keynote speaker throughout North America and in Europe sharing her message of hope, healing and encouragement.
Kitty is currently working on her first book and enjoying the adventure of homeschooling. She makes her home in the New Orleans area with her musician husband and young daughter, whom they adopted from China in 2005 and who frequently accompanies Kitty on her travels.
Television and Radio Credits
Kitty appeared five times as a guest on EWTN’s Life on the Rock television series with Jeff Cavins, as well as on EWTN’s Backstage television series. Most recently, she appeared live on EWTN from the National Shrine of Divine Mercy on Divine Mercy Sunday, where she shared her testimony and sang for the televised Mass. Kitty has appeared multiple times on Catholic TV of Boston and continues to receive both national and international radio airplay.
- Magnificat women's prayer breakfasts (PA, TX, several in LA)
- Various other prayer breakfasts and retreats (CA, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MO, MS, NC, OH, PA, SC, TX)
- Legatus dinners (FL, LA, WI)
- Marian conferences (CA, AZ, several in LA)
- Concerts at gala fundraisers (DC, NY, GA, LA, CO)
- Midwest Family Conference (Wichita, KS)
- Catholic Women for Christ Conference (St. Louis, MO)
- Graced & Gifted Women's Conference (Prior Lake, MN)
- Martha & Mary Conference (Dubuque, IA)
- Catholic Women of Faith Conference (Franklin, TN)
- Atlanta Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women Conference (Peachtree City, GA)
- South Carolina Council of Catholic Women Conference (Hilton Head Island, SC)
- San Francisco Catholic Charismatic Conference
- Lighthouse Catholic Media Conference (Mundelein, IL)
- Divine Mercy Sunday speaker and cantor (National Shrine of Divine Mercy, Stockbridge, MA)
- Over 50 prayer concerts (with testimony) in Catholic parishes around North America and Europe
"Kitty's love for the Lord and for her Catholic faith was palpable, and she left us all uplifted and encouraged with her message and music. I wholeheartedly recommend Kitty Cleveland for your future event."
— Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila, S.T.I, Archbishop of Denver
"Kitty shared her inspiring story and beautiful singing with endearing personality and delightful humor. Many of the 500 women said afterward that she was their favorite Magnificat speaker of all time--out of 40 speakers! I heartily recommend her for any group."
— Kay Burkot, Magnificat of Pittsburgh, PA Co-Founder
"I have the privilege of counting Kitty Cleveland as one of my close friends, and for that I am most grateful. When I listen to her CDs I’m touched by her wellspring of talent, but even more I’m moved knowing that her music is the result of God interacting with her in the valleys and the mountaintops of her life. She is real, she is deeply spiritual, and she has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard."
— Jeff Cavins, biblescholar and Catholic evangelist
"We are all still floating since your appearance at our Endow Gala! This week I have had more positive calls and emails than I can possibly handle. The humor, warmth, and love that came through in your talk had all 500 people in the room riveted."
— Terry Polakovic, Endow Co-Founder and Executive Director
Surrender: Collection of popular liturgical songs, plus two originals. Winner of Unity Award® for “Sacramental Album of the Year” (2000, 2007 remix).
Sacred Arias: Twelve favorite classics with a chamber orchestra. Final Unity Award® nominee for “Devotional Album of the Year” (2001).
The Miracle of Love Rosary: International best-seller featuring music and meditations on the sanctity of life, including the Luminous Mysteries. Recorded with Fr. Robert Cavalier (2002).
O Holy Night: Well-loved Christmas songs with a Celtic flair (2003).
The Miracle of Divine Mercy: Original sung Divine Mercy chaplet with a children’s choir, plus two inspiring songs and Kitty’s Divine Mercy testimony (2004).
Be Not Afraid: Includes 12 songs of hope and consolation, including “Now You Come to Me”, an original song inspired by the last words of Pope John Paul II, and “Eye of the Storm”, written by Kitty for the victims and survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Winner of Unity Award for “Devotional Album of the Year” (2006).
Sublime Chant: The Scotland Project:An ambitious recording of 17 Gregorian chants recorded in a 13th century Scottish cathedral (2008).
Lighthouse—God Will Provide: 2010 release by Lighthouse Catholic Mediaincludes Kitty’s testimony plus nine songs from her previous collections.
The Miracle of Life Rosary for Children: Kids love hearing the upbeat, life-affirming music and meditations written by Kitty specifically for a young audience, with all of the prayers led by kids. Kitty’s daughter, Cecilia (age 7), also sings with her to music arranged by Joe Hand (2-CD, 2011).
Lighthouse—Sacred Christmas: 2011 release by Lighthouse Catholic Media of a selection of Kitty’s Christmas music.
Lighthouse—The Miracle of Divine Mercy: 2013 release by Lighthouse Catholic Media of Kitty's Divine Mercy chaplet with a sample of her Divine Mercy testimony.
Blue Skies: A collection of jazz standards with some of New Orleans' finest jazz musicians, including Summertime, My Funny Valentine, Someone to Watch over Me, and many other classic favorites (2014).
Kitty makes her home in the New Orleans area with her musician husband and young daughter, whom they adopted from China in 2005. To read what others have had to say about Kitty, please check out the Guestbook. For bookings, please call Caroline Shollat (504) 559-8076 or send an email.
November 23, 2009
For several years there was debate among orthodox Catholic moral theologians about the morality of embryo adoption. After much time and prayerful consideration, the Church spoke definitively on the matter in the document Dignitatis Personae, written in 2008 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It gives moral guidance on the many new medical procedures available to people today, including embryo adoption (which was determined to be illicit). The full text of the document can be read at the link above.
Many years ago, when it appeared that the Church was going to approve of embryo adoption for married couples, I was advised that it was licit, even heroic, for my husband and me to do so. We then adopted three frozen embryos from a friend of mine, a young mother of five, who was dying of pancreatic cancer. Shortly after she died, all three embryos perished in the thaw--on March 30, 2002. It was a day of great sadness, I can tell you. That sadness was turned into great joy when on March 30, 2003 (one year to the day!), our daughter Cecilia was born, and we adopted her from China the following year.
So as not to confuse anyone, I have removed from my website the series of articles I wrote about our embryo adoption while it was taking place.There is great freedom to be found in the teaching authority of the Church. And as one friend put it, "A river without levees is a flood." As a Katrina survivor, I can't tell you how much I appreciate the levees.
It's not easy to be obedient in the matter of faith and morals when it costs you a great deal, but how beautiful is the gift of our freedom when it is given to God in trusting love. He will never be outdone in generosity! Just look at that smile...
September 7, 2009
In the summer of 2009 I had the great privilege of traveling to Rwanda, where I spent 10 days with Immaculee Ilibagiza (Left to Tell) and a handful of others from around the world. It was an emotional journey, and I cried every day, to the point that it became a running joke. "Let's see...it's 10 a.m. and Kitty hasn't cried yet--should be coming soon!" Rwanda is where over one million people were slaughtered in a genocide that lasted for three months in 1994. It is also the site of the only Vatican-approved Marian appparition on the continent of Africa.
Our time was split between the capital city of Kigali and the small village of Kibeho where Mary appeared to a number of young people in the 1980's. To tell you about all of our adventures will take hours of typing and editing pictures, so I promise to do that for you when I get a little free time.
For now the easiest way for me to share it is in person with my laptop and a projector. If you would like to me to share my experiences with your parish or group, as well as provide information about the apparitions in Kibeho, please just give Joe Condit at CMG Booking a call. I love show and tell, especially about this trip!
September 12, 2008
On October 25, 2008, I was blessed to sing my homage to Katrina, "Eye of the Storm," at the 9th Annual Unity Awards ceremony, which is the Catholic equivalent of the Grammy Awards. The Xavier University Gospel Choir provided soulful back-up singing, which was a thrill for me, and the 2007 remix of Surrender was a finalist in a number of categories, winning Album Packaging of the Year. My husband has been calling me "Miss Shrinkwrap 2008." 🙂
The Unity Awards, being held for the first time in New Orleans, also featured performances by Tony Melendez, John Michael Talbot, Matt Maher, Sara Hart, Kara Klein, Trish Foti Genco, Matthew Baute, Sharmane Adams, local choirs and much more. Please see www.UnityAwards.com for more information about the winners. It was a great night of music with some of Christian music's finest talent
March 12, 2008
This CD presented unique challenges (e.g. traveling to Scotland with a toddler in tow; trying to stay on pitch without any accompaniment or anyone to listen to me; learning 17 ancient Gregorian chants, all of which were new to me), as well as great joys (e.g. all of the above challenges, plus working with Joe Hand and David Smith; singing in a medieval cathedral in Scotland; and getting to attend an old friend's wedding in a Scottish castle on my "day off"--so fun!). I am humbled by the final product, which could only have been accomplished with the help of some very special friends and a great deal of divine assistance.
(Report after returning from Scotland in October, 2007):
I am happy to report that our October trip to Scotland was everything I had hoped it would be! I began by singing for the wedding of a dear friend in the great hall of the Doune Castle (we were greeted with the father/son bagpipers above); was able to record most of the Gregorian chant CD (which is scheduled for an Easter release--see The Scotland Project for more information) in the 13th century Dunblane Cathedral; and gave two "Be Not Afraid" concerts in Glasgow (site of the June terrorist airport bombing).
At the end of our trip--and just after filming my exhausted 3-year-old Ceci bobbing to sleep in one of those wonderful British taxis--I left my camera on the seat. ARGGHHHH! Alas, the camera and all of my wonderful pictures for the CD are gone with it. I found some links online to similar pictures, and others sent me pictures of the wedding, so this is something like what I had to show you:
- A rainbow over a scenic river and bridge, with Doune Castle in the background (you can imagine!)
- (Doune Castle)
- About a dozen men standing in the Doune Castle courtyard drinking champagne in their colorful tartan kilts.
- Ceci, my mother and I arrive at Doune Castle:
- This is Ceci and me as she "helps me" right before I have to sing for the wedding:
- Note said daughter hiding under my wrap while I sing--it was a bit chilly in there!
- This is the champagne reception in the King's Hall of the castle.
- This was the first of several phases of the reception, which lasted 10 hours!
- The beautiful Dunblane Cathedral
- (Dunblane Cathedral)
- (The Dunblane Cathedral choir, where I recorded the chant CD)
- The lovely smiling faces of the audiences at my concerts and at the parties afterwards (while the group was small, five continents were represented at the University of Glasgow concert). This part I just have to remember and you have to imagine. *sigh*
- The view of Stirling Castle at night from our bedroom window in Bridge of Allan
- The charming little village of Deanston on the River Teith (we stayed with the bride's parents after the wedding in one of those flats on the left--and the sky really was blue!)
- The magnificent 12th c. Glasgow Cathedral
- (Glasgow Cathedral)
When time allows, I'll share more details of this anointed trip, especially the singing experiences in the Deanston Cathedral and the concerts. In the meantime, I'm gearing up for my December concerts and working on the Gregorian chant CD. Please keep this new project in your prayers!
November 19, 2007
Be Bot Afraid won the 2007 "Album of the Year (Devotional)" award. I received the award right before I sang "Now You Come to Me," the song I wrote for Pope JP II the night that he died. I dedicated the award and the song to my dad, my special intercessor in heaven, which explains the tears.
Pictured here with fellow New Orleanians Raymond Arroyo (pithy host of the awards ceremony), and artist Kara Klein:
Pictured below with Kara and Alejandro Monteverde, writer and director of the movie Bella.
June 1, 2007
- A few different Latin Masses
- Veni Creator Spiritus
- O Sanctissima
- Salve Regina
- Tantum Ergo
- Panis Angelicus
- Ave Maria
- Pater Nostra
- Adoro Te Devote
- Regina Coeli
- Ave Verum Corpus
- Pange Lingua Gloriosi
- Parce Domine
- Ubi Caritas
- Attende Domine
- Jesu Dulcis Memoria
- Ave Maria
March 11, 2007
In addition to having phenomenal talent and sincere humility, she says on the AI website bio that her personal goals are "to represent Christ well and to do everything 150%." What a gal! And what a special addition she makes to the new CD. She is also joined by some other wonderfully talented gospel singers, who truly took the songs ("Eye of the Storm", "Now You Come to Me", and "God Will Provide") to a whole new level. "Bravo!" to Jason Eskridge and Missi Hale.
I saw an interview with Melinda in which she says that she had no discernable talents as a child, and that she was completely tone deaf. She tried gymnastics, but that was a disaster (one thing she and I have in common). And then in the seventh grade she decided to ask God to give her the gift of singing (that was the same year that it all started for me, as well). He certainly answered her prayer!
December 23, 2006
(Re: Be Not Afraid CD, 2007) Most impressive is the consistency sustained throughout the album. Cleveland’s abiding faith and reverence for God forms the basis of every song. And, as such, it’s difficult to pick favorites since it’s the kind of record that can be played repeatedly, from the first track to the last, without tiring of it..."Eye of the Storm" captures the full strength of Cleveland’s artistry. With a gospel choir that gives the sound a heavenly measure, Cleveland has offered the world a gift that, obviously, was divinely inspired. A tribute to the survivors of Hurricane Katrina, this song could elevate Kitty Cleveland to star status. B. B., Music Connection Magazine, Los Angeles, CA
Kitty, your concert was so beautiful--I immediately liked EVERY selection when you sang it and again as I heard it going home on the CD! By now,my daughter and I have memorized all of the songs pretty much, and we compete for who gets the CD at home. We have "joint custody"--taking turns with listening to it at home, and then agreeing to listen to it first in the car!! Mary T, Kenner, LA
I got Kitty's newest CD in the mail a couple of days ago and I think I've listened to it 4 times since yesterday. It's awesome! Anyway, I just love the CD...Caroline S., Washington, DC
The new Be Not Afraid CD is fabulous. I was crying so hard yesterday listening to it I could hardly get out of my car and go into church without looking like I was a basket case! Kitty is being used as an instrument in God's hand to draw people into a higher place of worship and awe. I quickly ran out and bought a bunch more to give as gifts. Jan T., New Orleans, LA
Dear Kitty, I just had to write and thank you so much for being there for all of us at the Women's Day at St. Luke. You sound even more beautiful in person. I am so glad I purchased your "Be Not Afraid" CD. "Fragrance Prayer" really brings the Holy Spirit into my heart as soon as I hear it. It fills me with joy. Your Eye of the Storm song brings chills all over me. As you were singing "I will fly to you" a dove landed on one of the windows above the stained glass Jesus. I know because I have a family of doves that lives in my tree in my yard. Anyway, I just knew that the Holy Spirit flew to watch you sing that beautiful song and to be with us. It still brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for giving us such a wonderful gift and being part of such a wonderful day. And thank you again for sharing the gift God gave you with your voice and songwriting. Patrycja B, Slidell, LA
November 27, 2006
The Be Not Afraid CD release concert was a true joy. What a gift to have so many friends come to share this special evening with me.
Thanks to my special guests: Fr. Kenny Allen (piano), my husband Mel Rogers (piano and flute), and my mom Joey Cleveland (background vocals). Also thanks to Fr. John Talamo, pastor at Our Lady of the Lake, who trusted me enough to allow this concert in our beautiful church. And very few people would have known about it without the hard work of my faithful friends, Maria and Ron Burkhardt--you are a blessing and an answer to prayer!
September 22, 2006
While we were exiled in Beaumont, TX after Hurricane Katrina, I spent a lot of time in an adoration chapel that was close by. I spent hours in prayer trying to make sense of what had happened to my beloved home town of New Orleans, and out of that prayer came the words and melody for the song "Eye of the Storm."
The soulful ballad was a real gift, and I sent it to the brilliant Bob Halligan (pictured at left, www.CeiliRain.com) for his songwriting input. In the meantime, his new single "Kneeling" took off on the Christian charts, and I couldn't get a copy of the finished music from him before I left for Nashville to start recording the new CD (Be Not Afraid). Needless to say, I was anxious to get my hands on the it before I headed back home.
In the "God never sleeps" file, I arrived in Nashville to work with producer Joe Hand--only to find that Bob, who lives in New York, was also working in the studio that day! What an unexpected blessing. We added a bridge and gospel chorus, which makes the song even more special. What a joy it was to sing and harmonize with him!
"Eye of the Storm" is on the Be Not Afraid CD, and the gospel choir will give you goosebumps! In fact, one of them almost won American Idol a few months after the release (Melinda Doolittle came in 3rd place).
December 19, 2004
I was scheduled to sing for Pope John Paul II in an audience on Nov. 30, 2005, (my third opportunity to be with him on this trip--what a blessing!), but he ended up having a stomach virus that caused his secretary to cancel all but a few important exchanges. This necessarily excluded me.
To say I was disappointed would be an understatement, but God knows what He is about, and I'm sure the Holy Father was much more in need of rest than in hearing me sing the "Ave Maria". One really cool unexpected blessing, though, was that Archbishop Hughes (my archbishop) and all of the bishops from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky were in town for their ad limina visit, and I was invited by Fr. Christopher Nalty, a priest friend who works at the Vatican, to sing for their Mass in the crypt of St. Peter's Basilica. So there I was with about 25 bishops, a dozen or so priests and two other lay people, where I got to sing at the tomb of St. Peter! The tombs of many, if not all, of the past canonized popes also surrounded us. It was really very special for me--I felt so small in the Big Picture of our rich Catholic heritage.
I flew out two days later and went straight to AZ, where I had a concert in a really fun and vibrant parish, St. Timothy (where LifeTeen was founded). After I told them the story I just told you, someone spontaneously yelled out, "Hey, Kitty--it's OK. You sang for the FIRST Pope!" Well, what a cool way to think about it, huh? (I guess I just forgot to tell God *which* Pope I was hoping to sing for :-). Another friend has since commented that maybe I was also singing for the future pope! Hmmm.....
Anyway, the bottom line is that as much as I wanted to tell myself that I just wanted to lift up JPII in prayer and honor Mary with my song, I realized that a little hidden part of myself really wanted it for ME--to feel special, to have the public recognition that God really has chosen me to do this work for Him, etc. I was reminded that God has His own plan for us and for our ministry/life's work, and our job is to accept His will with docility, gratitude and joy. In fact, John Paul II was to die only a few months later.
Some days He may want me to sing for bishops and cardinals and popes, other days He may want me to sing for people who are marginalized and broken and forgotten, and still other days He may just want me to be silent. I'm learning that the joy comes in wanting whatever it is He wants.
Love and blessings in this beautiful Year of the Eucharist. Let's pray for each other +
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