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
Planning a stint in the federal pen? Don't leave home without Clare Hanrahan's Jailed for Justice: A Woman's Guide to Federal Prison Camp.
Shoes of the Fisherman?
This spring Europe was rocked by a religious fashion war when the Danish superstore Kvickly started selling flip-flop sandals featuring images of Jesus and Mary.
How Does Your Company Measure Up?
How Does Your Company Measure Up?
The First Cup Is for The Guest
Interest in conscientious objection is on the rise among members of the U.S. military, according to several indicators.
God vs. General Mills
Tom Ciola, creator of the Bible Bar and a host of spiritual snack foods at Logia Foods, just released his newest treat: Bible Granola.
The Motor City may never lack for drama, but until the Mosaic Youth Theatre came along there were few opportunities for young people to express themselves on stage.
Who Controls the Spigot?
Private companies are slurping up public water at an alarming rate.
Churches Push Amnesty Project
A coalition of Latino religious leaders from 17 states is fighting for amnesty for thousands of undocumented workers in the United States.
Children Against AIDS
A Jesuit priest in southern India, along with local Jesuit school students, has launched an AIDS-awareness campaign conducted mostly by children orphaned by the disease.
What the Mean Streets Teach
Calling herself "Aly," the Episcopal bishop of Rhode Island, Geralyn Wolf, spent the month of January on the streets, befriending the homeless and sleeping and eating in shelters.
Can You Hear Me Now?
As if there weren't enough reasons to get rid of your cell phone, a new study from the Worldwatch Institute reports that coltanthe mineral that keeps cell phones and other electronic eq
Not Following Orders
Lance Corporal Stephen Eagle Funk, 20, (second from left) turns himself in at his Marine Corps reserve unit after refusing to serve in the Iraq war.
Boycotting World Bank Bonds
Following a two-year organizing drive by students and faculty at the University of New Mexico, the university became the first in the United States to adopt a policy against investment in World Bank bonds.
Character Counts. (Who Knew?)
Arguing that "character counts," the United Church of Christ is pressuring all 50 state public utility commissioners to investigate WorldCom and revoke its local licenses...
Several religious bodies recently testified before the U.N. Commission on Human Rights about religious intolerance and discrimination in Pakistan. "
Getting Our Gaze Back
In January, Maine Interfaith Power and Light—an electricity-purchasing group rooted in the faith community—announced the availability of two green electricity options for homeowners in Maine.