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
A Devout Meditation in Memory of Timothy McVeigh
Slave Ways No More
How Isabella Baumfree became Sojourner Truth.
Do you remember what Dr. Arroway (Jodie Foster) said, in the movie Contact, when she was launched by The Pod into humanity's first meeting with non-Earthlings?
Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Twenty-nine years after the fact, U.K.
On the Ground in Bogota, Colombia
Voices from the Colombian church's human rights community.
The Texas Two-Step
George W. and Laura Bush's new Crawford, Texas home boasts a stunning array of eco-friendly features...
The Mercy Seat
Is rape a war crime, or 'collateral damage'?
As For Me and My Gang, We Shall Serve the Lord
The Un-Chained Gang Motorcycle Ministry is a nondenominational outreach program of born-again outlaw bikers in Bloomington, Indiana. Members take a vow of nonviolence for the sake of Jesus.
A Rabbi, RoundUp, and the All-American Girl
Israeli Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights, who was arrested this spring for blocking a bulldozer that was in the act of demolishing a Palestinian home in the West Bank.
Cross Talk. As part of a cultural exchange initiated by the Mennonite Central Committee, Evelyn and Wallace Schellenberger are moving to Qom, Iran. To prepare they met with Dr.
Beyond Voter Registration
A recent survey of political involvement by black churches, conducted by Morehouse College’s "Public Influences of African-American Churches Project"...
Clowns Without Kevlar
When humanitarian intervention sends in the troops, its not usually a laughing matter.
Why Driving Is Too Cheap
$446.3 billion "social cost" of driving in 2000* (18 cents/mile)
Free Trade for Whom?
Protesters anywhere have a legitimate case to make, as long as its not made with violence.
What can you do about youth violence?
Holy Boldness, Batman!
When a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency survey found that one out of every 10 people in Baltimore is a drug addict, Methodist pastor Tim Warner decided enough was enough.
Cleans Up the Blue Streak
"Curse Free TV" is a new invention that automatically filters out profanity and other offensive language in television programming.
Nosy Neighbor Campaign
Elizabeth Iguago came to the United States from Ecuador to work for an IMF official.
Sex in the City (and the suburbs)
There is a new ad campaign hitting the national media called "Sex Has Consequences."
Computers are the key to the future. Or not.
"Computer science is the best instrument of history to release man's creativity...