Messy Jesus Business

Messy Jesus Business

Dorothy Fortenberry: Climate and Creation

December 08, 2022

Episode 55 of Messy Jesus Business podcast, with Sister Julia Walsh.

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

Subscribe: Google Podcasts | Stitcher | Email | RSS | More

"We all will be affected by climate change... can we learn how to understand each other as shared participants in this project of being on earth together?" –Dorothy Fortenberry


In this episode of Messy Jesus Business, Sister Julia Walsh gets into the mess of creative writing amidst the climate crisis with playwright, screenwriter and essayist Dorothy Fortenberry. Dorothy tells about how she found her career and what it's like to be a Catholic in a television writer's room. She also speaks about the importance of having children even in the face of climate change, and how being pro-climate means being pro-humanity. Dorothy and Sister Julia also explore how creating is a connection both to the Spirit and the unknown. Other topics include trying to be a disciple of Jesus in a community as big as the Catholic church, handing out copies of Laudato Si' in Hollywood, and how recycling is like prayer.


Dorothy Fortenberry is a playwright, screenwriter, and essayist. Her plays include: PARTNERS (Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival), THE LOTUS PARADOX (Warehouse Theater), SPECIES NATIVE TO CALIFORNIA (IAMA Theatre), GOOD EGG (Red Fern Theatre), CAITLIN AND THE SWAN (The Management), STATUS UPDATE (Center REPertory), and MOMMUNE (Chalk Rep). As a television writer and producer, she has worked on “Extrapolations” (upcoming for Apple TV+), “The 100” (the CW), and “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu) for which she received multiple Emmy nominations, the PGA Award, and two WGA Awards. She also writes essays for publications including Commonweal, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and Real Simple and likes to talk on podcasts, especially Know Your Enemy. She is the 2021 laureate of the George W. Hunt, S.J., Prize for Journalism, Arts & Letters for outstanding work in the category of fiction writer or dramatist.

Dorothy's piece on climate change for America Magazine:

Her essays for Commonweal:

And her essay about going to Church:

Dorothy's Twitter: @dorothy410berry

MESSY JESUS BUSINESS is hosted by Sister Julia Walsh. 

Produced and edited by Colin Wambsgans.

Email us at



Twitter: @messyjesusbiz