Rose Marie Berger is a Catholic peace activist and poet. She has been on Sojourners staff since 1986, and worked for social justice movements for 40 years. Rose has rooted herself with Sojourners magazine and ministry. She has written hundreds of articles for Sojourners and other publications and is a sought after preacher and public speaker. After living in Washington, D.C., for 35 years, she moved to Oak View, Calif., in 2022.
Rose’s work in Christian nonviolence has taken her to conflict zones around the world. She is active in the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, a project of Pax Christi International, and served as co-editor for Advancing Nonviolence and Just Peace in the Church and the World, the fruit of a multiyear, global, participatory process to deepen Catholic understanding of and commitment to Gospel nonviolence. Her poetry has appeared in the books Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting a Bioregional Faith and Practice and Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry: Conversations on Creation, Land Justice, and Life Together. She is author of Bending the Arch: Poems (2019), Drawn By God: A History of the Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries from 1967 to 1991 (with Janet Gottschalk, 2012), and Who Killed Donte Manning? The Story of an American Neighborhood. She has also been a religion reviewer for Publishers Weekly and a Huffington Post commentator. Her work has appeared in National Catholic Reporter, Publishers Weekly, Religion News Service, Radical Grace-Oneing, The Merton Seasonal, U.S. Catholic, and elsewhere. She serves on the board of The International Thomas Merton Society.
With Sojourners, Rose has worked as an organizer on peace and environmental issues, internship program director, liturgist, community pastor, poetry editor, and, currently, as a senior editor of Sojourners magazine, where she writes a regular column on spirituality and justice. She is responsible for the Living the Word biblical reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary, poetry, Bible studies, and interviews – and oversees the production of study guides and the online Bible study Preaching the Word.
Rose has a veteran history in social justice activism, including: leading the first international, inter-religious peace witness into Kyiv, Ukraine, following the outbreak of war in 2022, organizing inter-religious witness against the Keystone XL pipeline; educating and training groups in nonviolence; leading retreats in spirituality and justice; writing on topics as diverse as the “Spiritual Vision of Van Gogh, O'Keeffe, and Warhol,” the war in the Balkans, interviews with Black activists Vincent Harding and Yvonne Delk, the Love Canal's Lois Gibbs, and Mexican archbishop Ruiz, cultural commentary on the Catholic church and the peace movement, reviews of movies, books, and music.
Rose Berger has taught writing and poetry workshops for children and adults. She’s completed her MFA in poetry through the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program. Her poetry has been published in Sojourners, The Other Side, Radix and D.C. Poets Against the War.
Rose grew up in the Central Valley of California, located in the rich flood plains of the Sacramento and American rivers. Raised in radical Catholic communities heavily influenced by Franciscans and the Catholic Worker movement, she served for nine years on the pastoral team for Sojourners Community Church; five as its co-pastor. She directed Sojourners internship program from 1990-1999. She is currently a senior editor and poetry editor for Sojourners magazine. She has traveled throughout the United States, and also in Ukraine, Israel/Palestine, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosova, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, and El Salvador visiting primarily with faith communities working for peace in situations of conflict.
Rose was born when atmospheric CO2 was at 319.08 ppm and now lives with her wife Heidi Thompson in Oak View, Calif., in the Ventura River watershed on traditional Chumash lands. Learn more at rosemarieberger.com.
Rose’s articles include:
- Pursuing the Secret of Joy: What is joy when it's not promiscuously tied to happiness, Hallmark, or hedonism?
- Why Our Faith Delegation went to Ukraine?: Our public message was simple: “We have come to Kyiv in solidarity to pray for a just peace.”
- Nonviolence in Najaf?: Will we recognize an Islamic peace movement when we see it?
- Of Love's Risen Body: The poetry of Denise Levertov, 1923-1997
- Glimpses of God Outside the Temple: The spiritual vision of Vincent Van Gogh, Georgia O'Keefe, and Andy Warhol.
- Damnation Will Not Be Televised: Almost everything I know about hell I learned from watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Christian nonviolence, peace, war
- Catholic Nonviolence Initiative
- Climate change, creation care, watershed discipleship
- Bible study, liturgical year
- Spirituality and social justice
- Any topic covered in Sojourners magazine
- Preference for virtual events, but willing to discuss in-person events on case-by-case basis
Posts By This Author
New Research on Why Nonviolence Works
Pope Benedict: Greatest Persecution is from Sin Within the Church
Dispatch from Prison: How Strong Is Hope?
In my daily prayer book, the morning antiphon for today said: "The Lord chose these holy men for their unfeigned love
Emissions: Planes vs. Volcanos
U.K. Catholic Bishops Address Abuse Scandal 'Directly and Unambiguously'
Nonviolence: What About Hitler?
West Virginia Mine Disaster: Mourning in the Mountains
Calling for Debt Relief
In the wake of Haiti’s devastating Jan. 12 earthquake, a coalition of faith-based and secular humanitarian organizations called world leaders to grant international debt relief to Haiti.
Predator Drones on Our Borders
You cannot hear them. You cannot see them. But Predator drones—pilotless aircraft typically used in combat in Afghanistan and Pakistan—are flying in U.S.
According to a review of 160 socially responsible mutual funds, 72.6 percent of socially responsible large-cap funds outperformed their S&P 500 competitors in 2009.
Child Crown of Thorns
The Nebraska-based Oriental Trading Company knows “how to make the world more fun!” Their child-size crown of thorns is just the ticket to make sure your Sunday school kids know what su
'Reverend Billy' Demands Freedom for the Captives
With his blonde pompadour flying in the cold January sky, activist and performance artist “Reverend Billy” Talen preached through a megaphone outside of the Varick Federal Detention Fac
(Some) Palestinians Allowed to Travel to Jerusalem for Easter
A Palm Sunday Procession to Jerusalem Ends in Arrests -- Including the Donkey
What the Heck is 'Social Justice'?
Universal Health Care Can Reduce Abortion
Pastors: Your Kids Are Listening to You on Climate Change
An Interview with Edwidge Danticat
Editor’s Note: Edwidge Danticat, author of six books including
Is Military Money a Stabilizer?
After the failed Christmas bomb attack on a U.S.-bound plane in which the prime suspect admitted that he’d been trained at an al Qaeda boot camp in Yemen, President Obama doubled U.S.
Rise and Shine
Does “awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead!” (Ephesians 5:14) describe your Monday morning?