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
Web exclusive: Full text of Swanee Hunt interview
Replacing hatred with hope
Nonviolence in Najaf?
A Lion Lays Down
In the Mahatma's Footsteps
Women Building Peace
Worldwide, women seek to reclaim their countries from violence
Just how many is 45 million
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2003 fully 45 million people in this country had no health insurance. Thats up 1.4 million from 2002 and 5.2 million from 2000. "The uninsured problem is serious yet largely ignored," Jeanne Lambrew, a professor of health policy at George Washington
The 'Doc' is in the house
On Sept. 23, 2004, T. Lawrence "Doc" Mishler, along with horses Chief Spirit and Faith and canine companion Good Dog, ended his several-thousand-mile horseback journey from Choteau, Montana, at the doorstep of Bread for the World, a Christian organization in Washington, D.C., that works against hunger.
This Blinking Little Light of Mine
And you thought Mel Gibsons portrayal of Jesus crucifixion went too far. Magic Matts "Crucifix Body Light" fashions our Lord with blue, red, and yellow LEDs that blink in an alternating pattern akin to an airplane. Designed to be attached to your earlobe, collar, or anything else
- Food Fight. Approximately 1,600 Palestinians in Israeli prisons went on a hunger strike in mid-August, demanding fair and humane treatment. Within days, they were joined by other prisoners, bringing the number of protesters to 2,264, according to the BBC.
Beyond Primary Colors
Is the church, like the country, divided into
Logging Out in the Open
If a forest is chopped down and nobody hears about it, did it really happen? Yes, according to Christian Peacemaker Teams and the Anishnabek tribe of Grassy Narrows First Nation near Kenora, Ontario.
Less Crime, More Time
Less Crime, More Time
Five Ursuline sisters, wearing 19th-century-style habits, made a five-day float trip down the Ohio River from Louisville to Owensboro, Kentucky, in mid-August to re-enact the 1874 journey of their founders. Amelia Stenger, OSU, contacted organizers of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Expedition for help in locating
Serving Patients, not Patents
A nonprofit, Christian-owned pharmaceutical factory in India will offer HIV treatment drugs at cost to hospitals and health organizations in India, according to Ecumenical News International.
Accounting for the Poor
One year after the World Bank promised that revenues from the Chad-to-Cameroon oil pipeline would be directed toward local economies, education, and health care, African church leaders say they have not seen results. The Presbyterian
Kiwi Ban. New Zealands National Party gave up an attempt to rescind that countrys anti-nuclear law, indicating that they did not want to fight a popular law in an election year. The law prevents all nuclear-powered ships from entering New Zealand waters.
Fighting the Power
Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the world. With 1.4 million workers (all non-union), its also the largest employer in the United States. "Wal-Marts workers earn an average of $18,000 a year," reports the Labor Research Association. "Until Wal-Mart emerged as the largest U.S.