Senior Editor, Sojourners magazine

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 NeighborhoodShe 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:

Rose Marie Berger is available to speak at your next event. Please review our speaker instructions and guidelines or check out our full list of Sojourners speakers.

Speaking Topics

  • Christian nonviolence, peace, war
  • Catholic Nonviolence Initiative
  • Climate change, creation care, watershed discipleship
  • Bible study, liturgical year
  • Poetry
  • Spirituality and social justice
  • Any topic covered in Sojourners magazine
  • Catholicism

Speaking Format

  • Preference for virtual events, but willing to discuss in-person events on case-by-case basis

Posts By This Author

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?

by Rose Marie Berger 11-01-2002
The ceramic arsenal of Charles Krafft.

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.

Resources

Building Supplies

Haitian refugees

Two-hundred-seventy Haitian refugees—including children—have been held for more than six months in a maximum-security prison

Why Are You Weeping?

by Rose Marie Berger 09-01-2002

John H. Timmerman's incisive look at poet Jane Kenyon could use a snappier title because, more than a "literary life," it is a quintessential modern American spiritual journey.

Favelas to Fashion

Brazilian popular educator Paulo Freire probably never thought his ideas would revolutionize the fashion industry, but his student Maria Teresa Romeiro Leal has done just that. 

Newsbites

Daring Deeds. In June, seven women gathered on a boat on the Danube in Austria to be ordained as Roman Catholic priests.

A Jihad on AIDS

In June, the African Religious Leaders Assembly on Children and HIV/AIDS met in Nairobi at the request of the Hope for African Children Initiative and the World Conference of Religions and Peace. 

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.

Death Shall Have No Dominion

Nurit Elhanan and her husband, Rami, both 52, are campaigning for an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. What's remarkable about their peace campaign?

Fun With Facts

Twelve of the world's top 20 megacities are in Asia and the Pacific. Tokyo, with more than 26 million people, is currently the world's largest city.

Walk This Way

The Nonviolent Peaceforce is putting soldiers in the field.

Striving to be 'Number Zero'

by Rose Marie Berger 09-01-2002

At Wimbledon in 2002, tennis great Serena Williams was asked how it felt to be number one in the world.

Sweet Promises

The world now has purple M&Ms, but hold your applause for the little chocolates until the West African cocoa fields are rid of child slavery.

Who Occupies the Occupied Territories?

The Glasgow University Media Group decided to research how much about the Middle East conflict students learned from watching TV. This is what they found.

Educated to Debt

College, credit cards, and students: A dangerous mix?