Senior Editor, Sojourners magazine
Photo: Brandon Hook / Sojourners

Invite Rose to Speak

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:

She lives in the Southern Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C., in the Anacostia watershed on traditional Piscataway lands.

Posts By This Author

Newman Lives

by Rose Marie Berger, by Amy Spaulding 01-01-2009

Actor Paul Newman, who died in September, founded the only global forum of business CEOs focused on increasing corporate philanthropy.

Making Abortion Rare

by Rose Marie Berger, by Amy Spaulding 01-01-2009

A 2008 study commissioned by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good found that social policies that increase economic support to women in the U.S.

The Poverty Pulpit

by Rose Marie Berger, by Amy Spaulding 01-01-2009

In September, hundreds of churches nationwide joined in Poverty Sunday, part of Sojourners’ Vote Out Poverty campaign, to preach justice for the poor from the pulpit.

Africa Demands Climate Change Compensation

by Rose Marie Berger, by Amy Spaulding 01-01-2009

Under the U.N.

Lookin' for the Light

by Rose Marie Berger, by Amy Spaulding 01-01-2009

What with the destruction of the ozone layer, God’s people need some serious eye protection.

Welcoming the Stranger: Illegal?

by Rose Marie Berger, by Amy Spaulding 01-01-2009

In Brookville, Pennsylvania, a dispute over laws has shaken the otherwise quiet community.

Elections and Christ the King

by Rose Marie Berger 12-01-2008

The great wheel of the Christian liturgical year is turning once again.

A Delicious Peace

by Rose Marie Berger, by Amy Spaulding 12-01-2008

In 2003, Ugandan Jewish coffee farmer J.J. Keki asked himself what he could do to stop religious violence.

Sun Worship

by Rose Marie Berger, by Amy Spaulding 12-01-2008

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?

by Rose Marie Berger, by Amy Spaulding 12-01-2008

Move over Guitar Hero, Guitar Praise is the new toy for the Christian heavy metal and power-rock set.

British Churches Push for a Fair Economy

by Rose Marie Berger, by Amy Spaulding 12-01-2008

Get Fair, a United Kingdom-based coalition of religious and secular groups that launched in September, seeks to pressure politicians to end poverty in the U.K. by 2020. The alliance of more than 50 charities and faith-based institutions—including Oxfam, Islamic Aid, Iona Community, Caritas Social Action, and the Baptist Union of Great Britain, plus several denominations—cites survey data as evidence that politicians must do more to dramatically reduce domestic poverty.

Keeping Up With the Kurds

by Rose Marie Berger, by Amy Spaulding 12-01-2008

Northern Iraq is part of the contested homeland of ethnic Kurds—and until recently a safe haven for those escaping Baghdad’s violence, especially Chaldean Christians.

My Day on the Hugo Chavez Show

by Rose Marie Berger 11-25-2008

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'

by Rose Marie Berger 11-14-2008
Twelve years ago this week, the Catholic Church lost one of her great and humble leaders, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.

Midnight at the Lincoln Memorial

by Rose Marie Berger 11-05-2008

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

by Rose Marie Berger 11-01-2008
Mary Doria Russell, author of the best-selling books "The Sparrow" and "Children of God," tells Sojourners about her disciplines—in her spiritual life and in her writing.

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

by Rose Marie Berger, by Alexis Vaughan 09-01-2008

Roman Catholic Ingrid Betancourt made herself a wooden rosary while held captive in the Colombian jungle (above).

Teaching Pluralism

by Rose Marie Berger, by Alexis Vaughan 09-01-2008

Successful democracies, ac­cording to Thomas Jeffer­son, require an educated citizenry.

A Separate and Unequal System

by Rose Marie Berger, by Alexis Vaughan 09-01-2008

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

by Alexis Vaughan, by Rose Marie Berger 09-01-2008

The U.K.-based child protection agency Lucy Faithfull Foun­d­ation and the social action wing of the U.K.