Senior Editor, Sojourners magazine
Photo: Brandon Hook / Sojourners

Invite Rose to Speak

Rose, who lived in Washington, D.C. for 35 years, lives in Oak View, Calif. She has been on Sojourners staff since 1986.

For more than 35 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.

In the course of a 35 plus-year career in faith-based activism, advocacy journalism, and pastoral leadership, Rose 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 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 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’s articles include:

She lives in Oak View, Calif., in the Ventura River watershed on traditional Chumash lands.

Posts By This Author

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.

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.

The Time is Near

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

“Awake, ye drunkards, and weep” (Joel 1:5) for the hour of the Lord is at hand!

Police Raid Christian Organizations

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

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.

Heroes Welcome

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

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

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

The Busted-Up World Needs Us

by Rose Marie Berger 08-01-2008
Why do we bear the fractured order of love?

Dorothy Stang

by Rose Marie Berger, by Alexis Vaughan 08-01-2008

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

by Alexis Vaughan, by Rose Marie Berger 08-01-2008

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

Something Rotten?

by Rose Marie Berger, by Alexis Vaughan 08-01-2008

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?

by Alexis Vaughan, by Rose Marie Berger 08-01-2008

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.

Real Product: Bobblehead Benedict

by Alexis Vaughan, by Rose Marie Berger 08-01-2008

Promoted as the first pope to own an iPod, Benedict XVI is sculpted here in perfect polyresin, standing a towering 7 inches high.

Weaving Reconciliation After War

by Alexis Vaughan, by Rose Marie Berger 08-01-2008

In 1994, Iphigenia Mukanta­bana’s husband and five of her children were brutally murdered by her Hutu neighbors.

Real Product

by Alexis Vaughan, by Rose Marie Berger 07-01-2008
Real product Our Plastic Home Don't know what to get for the person who bought a lifetime family membership to the Kentucky-based Creation Museum? Try the "Creation Globe" from David C. Cook.