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
Speaking in Tongues
The faith-based anti-globalization movement is learning some new words.
An Advent Meditation
This is to all who serve on the human front, wearing any mask that will get you home. A word: While we are all dying to get out, there is one who died to get in.
Where Your Treasure Is
Americans are looking for socially responsible corporations, but many corporations haven't yet caught on.
Yo Quiero Justicia
Would you be willing to pay a fourth of a penny more for your chalupa if it meant that farm workers could earn a living wage?
Small Arms x 500 Million
While the U.S. government condemns the weapons programs of impoverished nations such as Iraq and North Korea, it remains a world leader in the production and sale of small arms...
West Texas Rock
Folks in Midland, Texas, are fed up with slavery and they aren't going to take it anymore.
Never one to miss out on market share, Mattel's Girls Division has added "Quinceañera Barbie" as their first "Hispanic-tradition" theme doll.
"Thank you for your letter expressing concern about the use of Abbott's sodium thiopental in capital punishment procedures."
Twelve Days of Christmas
26: St. Stephen's Day: Give to the poor all that you don't need.
Pram Time. Fifteen nonviolent demonstrators, including four children, occupied the Colombian consulate in Sydney, Australia, in August...
Resources: Building Supplies
The Christian Information Service in Croatia has published a small but powerful book titled RefuJesus. Author and activist Boris Peterlin meditates on Jesus in today's refugee camps.
Raising the Roof
At the Faithdome in South Central Los Angeles in May, one of the most dynamic religious movements in the world was out in full force...
Temples, Shrines, Mosques, and Churches
One of America's greatest strengths is our diversity of faith traditions. New research suggests we're getting stronger every day.
Two-Edged. In a national effort to disarm all fighting units in Sierra Leone, the U.N. destroyed nearly 10,000 firearms in a month-long amnesty period.
Turning the Tables on Hate
St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church turned the tables on hate-monger Fred Phelps in May when Phelps brought 10 of his followers to protest the ordination of Anita Hill, a lesbian pastor.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada has decided that breaking the law can be a Christian duty.
Yearning to Be Free
This spring 14 undocumented Mexican immigrants died from prolonged exposure to extreme heat in the Arizona desert.
A Devout Meditation in Memory of Timothy McVeigh
Speaking Truth to Police Power
Truth commissions have brought to light atrocities in South Africa, El Salvador, and elsewhere across the globe. But some feel such hearings are needed closer to home.
Voices, Not Victims
When a University of California campus saw a marked increase in date rape, an unlikely alliance emerged.