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
Hanging the Poor Out to Dry
The California state capitol building in Sacramento was transformed one morning in January into a tenement house strung with laundry lines.
It's On Me. Canada has cancelled the $750 million debt owed it by Iraq to help put the war-torn country on a "better foundation" for economic development.
Out Where the Psalms Are Sung
'His grave is out past the cedar tree," says the woman in the abbey gift shop. It is an icy Monday morning on the back roads of Kentucky's bluegrass country.
No More Auction Block
Dr. Samuel Cotton, a pioneer of the modern anti-slavery movement, died in December after a protracted battle with cancer.
Coca-Cola or Clean Water?
Local residents of Kerala, India, are winning a battle against Coca-Cola India for clean ground water and soil, after months of collaboration with a BBC investigative reporter.
A Life of Compassion
Most media tributes for former Illinois Sen. Paul Simon, who passed away in December following heart surgery, praised his political honesty, integrity, ethics, and commitment to the less fortunate, especially children living in poverty. But few noted the reason for these qualitieshis Christian faith. A local TV station reported that his pastor, Rev. Robert Gray, "describes Simon as a man filled with care and compassion for the underprivileged.... And he said Simon took that same kind of compassion into the political arena."
Reuters vs. Methodists
After strong statements from the United Methodist Church and the National Council of Churches, Reuters advertising agency reversed its decision to exclude a 7,000-square-foot, 28-story Times Square billboard, part of the Methodists "Igniting Ministry" campaign. "You state on your Web site that your church should be given the same access and opportunity to speak in the commercial marketplace as corporate advertisers," wrote Reuters CEO Thomas Glocer. "On reflection, I believe that you are right." Reuters policy prohibits advertising with
The Making of Southern Justice
Keeping and Eye on Things
When I want to see live gospel stories, I go to the Amoco station at 14th and Euclid in my Washington, D.C. neighborhood.
The Earth Moves at Midnight, by Muray Bodo
Shareholders Pounce on Predators
Presbyterian shareholder activist William Somplatsky-Jarman testified before the congressional subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit in November that shareholders in financial companies must oppose predatory lending practices and insist that Americas banks make capital available to underprivileged communities. "Shareholders play an essential role in preventing abusive lending practices," he said. "There may be short-term profit for a few from predatory lending, but it pales in comparison to the harm it inflicts upon vulnerable people and
Are These Your Kids?
Trickle Up Economics
Trickle Up Economics
Leaders of the world’s 77 million Anglicans met in London
No Fly Zone
Twenty-seven military pilots, former pilots, and air crew sent a petition to the commander of the Israeli Air Force in September saying they will not participate in attack missions...
More than 185 evangelical leaders from 50 countries met in Queretaro, Mexico, in September to examine the impact of the globalized economy on the poor.
Barring Prison Rape
The federal government now officially recognizes prison rape as a problem.