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
First Martyr Mourned
George Weber, 73, of Chesley, Ontario, was killed in a motor accident on January 6 while traveling with a Christian Peacemaker Team delegation north of Basrah, Iraq.
'All Our Children' Not A Soap
Are You a Terrorist, Too?
Sister Antonia Anthony is a 74-year-old Franciscan nun who raises funds for the poor of southern Mexico.
Being John the Baptist
What follows is an imprecise, and likely inaccurate, interpretation of the prologue to the gospel of Mark.
Corporations That Need A Clean-Up
Last year corporations took it on the chin when it came to financial scandal.
Saints' Daze. A few days before Christmas, Pope John Paul II beatified Mother Teresa, elevating her to the rank just below sainthood.
A Poetry Roundup
Yesterday I got a call from a friend I hadn't spoken with in more than a year. "I have to tell someone this," she said.
Resources: Building Supplies
Still confused about the rules governing political activity by religious organizations?
Last November, 12 clergy in full regalia—accompanied by acolytes with candles, crosses, holy water, and faith—processed to the federal building in Portland, Oregon...
Hyperventilating for the Lord
Critics who insist the church is full of hot air finally have their proof: British entrepreneur Mike Gill has introduced the world's first (and hopefully last) inflatable church.
Speaking a Holy Word
War Toys for Tots
G.I. Joe has shown boys how to exercise military might for decades, but America's recent "war on terror" has made way for a new cash crop of action figures. Since Sept.
Evangelical, Not Zionist
Forty-three prominent evangelical leaders sent a letter to President Bush indicating that the Christian Right's uncritical support of Israel is not the position of all American evangelicals.
Force Failure. In 2001, .37 percent of Australians and 1.5 percent of New Zealanders told census-takers they were following the Star Wars-based "Jedi" faith.
Federally Funded Grassroots?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Compassion Capital Fund released in October the first federal funds specifically targeted to assist faith-based and community organizations.
Who Answers at 2-1-1?
Who do you call when the marshals have tossed all your belongings on the sidewalk and you need a place to spend the night?
The RAND corporation, one of the earliest U.S. military think tanks, released a report on the implications of using alternative power-generation technologies...
Real Product: Holy Trinity 3-Pak
For the first time, you can possess your very own Holy Trinity 3-pak, featuring hand-carved God hair, a glow-in-the-dark Holy Spirit, and LEGO Jesus.
Touched by Peace
Jesuit Father Richard T. McSorley, 88, a retired professor of peace studies at Georgetown University and longtime peace and social justice activist, died October 17, 2002.