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
President Bush finally signed the Sudan Peace Act in October to pressure the Sudanese government to end that nation's 19-year civil war...
Stopping by a Red Light on a Weekday Evening
At the corner of 14th and Euclid Streets NW in Washington, D.C., many evenings at sunset, the Domino's deliveryman kneels down to pray.
Faith on the Barrelhead
Americans are keeping the faith today in many different waysincluding how they invest.
Digging up Franco's Bones
Is breaking the silence always a good thing?
Who's Using Charitable Choice Funding, and How?
This spring, the Survey Research Center at the University of Akron surveyed 587 leaders of faith-based organizations with government contracts under federal programs...
David, Goliath, and Uncle Sam
Colombia's U'wa indigenous group, numbering only 5,000, feared for their survival when U.S.-based Occidental Petroleum began plans nearly a decade ago to drill on their lands.
Confirmation Cards with Kickback
Pittsburgh: A City Has Its Limits
Beating Swords into. . . Fine China?
Arms Are For Hugging
Weapons sales to developing countries last year reached their lowest level in eight years, according to a new report by the Congressional Research Service.
Flexing Some Muscle
The Swedish appliance manufacturer ASKO dropped advertising that mocked eating disorders in response to a campaign effort by the U.S.-based organization Dads and Daughters.
The Story of the Lummi Totem Pole
There's more to the Lummi totem pole than meets the eye. At a time when Americans asked themselves "What can I do?" in response to the Sept.
Long Train Runnin'
'The work isn't over until we close our eyes and die.'
Suit Up for Salvation
Wondering what to wear to the next Bible study or church potluck? Need high visibility clothing for jogging at night?
Pillaging the Populace
Western Pennsylvania's Citizens Budget Campaign met last spring with the Pittsburgh City Council to discuss the impact of the 2003 federal budget on their city.
Daring Deeds. In June, seven women gathered on a boat on the Danube in Austria to be ordained as Roman Catholic priests.
All Shall Be One?
Christian leaders from all U.S.
Accessorize the Reformation
Here's the perfect gift for the hard-to-shop-for Lutheran in your life, or for that matter any friendly neighborhood church reformer.