Rose, a native of the West Coast, lives in Washington, D.C. She has been on Sojourners staff since 1986.
For more than 30 years, Rose has rooted herself with Sojourners magazine and ministry. 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.
A native of the West Coast, Rose has lived in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C. since the mid-1980s. In the course of a 30 plus-year career in faith-based activism, advocacy journalism, and pastoral leadership, she has proven to be a skilled organizer, exceptional writer, visionary pastoral leader, and innovative teacher of biblical literacy.
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 Associate Editor of Sojourners magazine, where she writes a regular column on spirituality and justice. She is responsible for the Living the Word section, poetry, Bible studies, and interviews – and oversees the production of study guides, discussion guides, and the online bible study Preaching the Word. She is also 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.
Rose has a veteran history in social justice activism, including: 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.
A founding member of a small creative writing group, 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 senior editor and poetry editor for Sojourners magazine.
She has traveled throughout the United States, and also in 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’s articles include:
- Pursuing the Secret of Joy: What is joy when it's not promiscuously tied to happiness, Hallmark, or hedonism?
- Nonviolence in Najaf?: Will we recognize an Islamic peace movement when we see it?
- A Presidential Option for the Poor? :Venezuela's Hugo Chavez stirs up fierce criticism - and hope.
- 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
She lives in the Southern Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C., in the Anacostia watershed on traditional Piscataway lands.
Posts By This Author
Elections and Christ the King
The great wheel of the Christian liturgical year is turning once again.
A Delicious Peace
In 2003, Ugandan Jewish coffee farmer J.J. Keki asked himself what he could do to stop religious violence.
By the new year, the Vatican will go solar. In September, engineers began installing 2,000 solar panels designed by the German firm SolarWorld and given to the Vatican as an Epiphany gift.
How Would Jesus Rock?
Move over Guitar Hero, Guitar Praise is the new toy for the Christian heavy metal and power-rock set.
My Day on the Hugo Chavez Show
Tonight, PBS's Frontline will air "The Hugo Chavez Show: An illuminating inside view of the mercurial Venezuelan president, his rise to power, and the new type of revolution he seems to be inventing -
Keeping the 'Consistent' in 'Consistent Ethic of Life'
Midnight at the Lincoln Memorial
The only word that comes to mind is "magical." After watching the early election returns with friends and observing a hushed moment of unbelieving silence at 10 p.m. when ABC called the election for Barack Obama, I did what has been in the back of my mind to do since Obama got the nomination.
A Hardheaded Faith
Mary Doria Russell’s science fiction books The Sparrow and Children of God put Jesuits in space and wrestle with the missionary issues of first contact. She’s gone on to write historical fiction, including A Thread of Grace, which tracks the underground efforts of Italians to save Jews during the final phase of World War II, and Dreamers of the Day, which explores the 1921 Cairo Conference through the perspective of an Ohioan woman caught up in forces that would shape the modern-day Middle East. Now Russell has jumped genres again and is writing a murder mystery/Western set in Dodge City, Kansas. Sojourners associate editor Rose Marie Berger interviewed Russell, who lives in Cleveland, this summer by e-mail.
Rose Marie Berger: How would you describe your spiritual journey?
Mary Doria Russell: Hardheaded. Pragmatic. Poetic. In that order!
How has your understanding of God changed over time? In 1955, the kindergarten kids at Pleasant Lane School in Lombard, Illinois, were told to bring in “something that is important to you” for show-and-tell. I remember this very clearly. A devout Catholic at that age, I arrived with a milk-glass statuette of the Virgin Mary and told the class that she was important to me because “she was the mother of God, and if it weren’t for her, there’d be no God, and then there’d be no world.”
Simply speaking those words aloud got my 5-year-old self thinking about the logical and sequential questions that statement begged. I became a more sophisticated Catholic as I matured, but eventually the theological package linking the Trinity, original sin, divine incarnation (with or without virgin birth), and salvation through blood sacrifice lost all credibility for me.
Sustained by Faith
Roman Catholic Ingrid Betancourt made herself a wooden rosary while held captive in the Colombian jungle (above).
Successful democracies, according to Thomas Jefferson, require an educated citizenry.
A Separate and Unequal System
Access to quality health care has been hindered more often for America’s racial and ethnic minorities than for whites, according to a 2008 report “Lifeline to Health Equity.” Peop
Quaker Program Reduces Recidivism
The U.K.-based child protection agency Lucy Faithfull Foundation and the social action wing of the U.K.
The Time is Near
“Awake, ye drunkards, and weep” (Joel 1:5) for the hour of the Lord is at hand!
Police Raid Christian Organizations
On June 9, armed groups of Zimbabwe’s police, military, and central intelligence raided the Ecumenical Centre in the city of Harare, which houses several Christian organizations.
Congress passed legislation in June removing Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela and other members of the African National Congress from the Department of Homeland Security’s “terro
The Busted-Up World Needs Us
In a retrial in May, a Brazilian court acquitted Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura, one of two ranchers who allegedly ordered the killing of 73-year-old Catholic Sister Dorothy Stang three years ago.
Ban Cluster Bombs
In May, representatives from more than 100 nations met to forge a global agreement to ban cluster bombs, aerial weapons that release tiny “bomblets” over a wide area and kill indiscrimi
Globally, the price of food is skyrocketing, causing riots in developing countries. In the U.S., food banks are running low on donations and high on visitors.
Brother, Where Art Thou?
Each month, 60,000 Iraqis are forced to leave their homes due to continuing violence, according to a Sept. 2007 report by the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Since 2003, when the U.S.