Senior Editor, Sojourners magazine
Photo: Brandon Hook / Sojourners

Invite Rose to Speak

Rose, who lived in Washington, D.C. for 35 years, lives in Oak View, Calif. She has been on Sojourners staff since 1986.

For more than 35 years, Rose has rooted herself with Sojourners magazine and ministry. 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.

In the course of a 35 plus-year career in faith-based activism, advocacy journalism, and pastoral leadership, Rose has proven to be a skilled organizer, exceptional writer, visionary pastoral leader, and innovative teacher of biblical literacy.

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 section, poetry, Bible studies, and interviews – and oversees the production of study guides, discussion guides, and the online bible study Preaching the Word. She is also 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.

Rose has a veteran history in social justice activism, including: 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.

A founding member of a small creative writing group, 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 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’s articles include:

She lives in Oak View, Calif., in the Ventura River watershed on traditional Chumash lands.

Posts By This Author

The Art of Loving

by Rose Marie Berger 11-09-1997
Image via Zvonimir Atletic/Shutterstock.com

We can call Mother Teresa saintly without also calling her a prophet.

Asian Immigrant Women Advocates

by Rose Marie Berger 07-01-1997

When most people hear "Silicon Valley," words such as clean, pure, technologically developed, and high personal income usually come to mind.

What Sustains over the Long Haul

by Rose Marie Berger, by Lois Gibbs 07-01-1997
An interview with Lois Gibbs

The Good Housekeeping Award

by Rose Marie Berger 07-01-1997
Women heroes of environmental activism

One Monk, One Yak

by Rose Marie Berger 07-01-1997
Tibet continues its 37-year fight for freedom

Golden Rain

by Rose Marie Berger 05-01-1997

Northern cardinal chips away
at the blue light

The Gospel Passion

by Rose Marie Berger 01-01-1997
Reynolds Price's story of good news.

Mario Savio

by Rose Marie Berger 01-01-1997

There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part....

 

Two Faces of Bosnia

by Rose Marie Berger 11-01-1996

It's 4:20 p.m. I'm standing over the Olympic soccer stadium in Sarajevo. From one goal post to the other are graves-headstones of various sizes and shapes, most unmarked.

Night Gardener

by Rose Marie Berger 09-01-1996
A poem

Sarajevo, 1995

I dream now of potatoes—
white, russet, red.
Sentinel potatoes, like Argus,
with eyes everywhere;
watching the dead underground
in the cemetery,
in the stadium,
in the streetcar turnaround.

Calm Before the Storm?

by Rose Marie Berger 09-01-1996
There is no easy road to Bosnian peace.

In Bosnia, there are no easy answers. Any question naively put forth by outsiders prompts a history lesson that usually begins at the time of Constantine if directed at a Croat, the 1389 Battle of Kosovo if toward a Serb, and the fall of the Ottoman Empire if speaking with a Muslim. For Americans who can't remember what they watched on television last night, this can be a bit disconcerting. However, while history does not predetermine a country's direction, it does highlight possible futures.

In the aftermath of genocide in Bosnia, the fundamental question is, Did this have to happen? The answer is no. Here at the end of the 20th century we have participated in a global dramatization of the adage, "All that evil needs to triumph is for good [people] to do nothing."

Contrary to the propaganda of the U.S. media, the former Yugoslavia is not genetically encoded for violence; nor did the collapse of communism preordain civil war. The mass graves that NATO forces are opening in Srebrenica, Jajce, and Tuzla are not only filled with sons, fathers, daughters, and friends, but with the coldly pragmatic, morally vacuous remnants of empires' attempts to save themselves.

Serbian President Milosevi´c, a very intelligent Communist hardliner, had no future in the age of democracy, so he initiated a violent land grab, particularly for Bosnia's military-industrial factories. Croatian President Tudjman had a small-minded Nixonesque craving for power. After Croatia's relatively successful secession from Yugoslavia, he took advantage of the chaos created by the Serb aggression to indulge his greed and extend the Croatian borders.

Death's Dance Broken

by Julie Polter, by Rose Marie Berger 07-01-1996

Dianna Ortiz's Vigil for Truth.

Down From the Mountain

An interview with author Dennis Covington

The Artistic Life of the Faithful

by Rose Marie Berger 05-01-1996

IN MY AUGHT YEARS (that time before teen-dom), somebody in my family left a hamburger on the stove, which proceeded to catch afire.

A Gritty Liturgy of Faith

by Rose Marie Berger 03-01-1996
The challenge of Dead Man Walking

Meditations on Breaking the Law

by Rose Marie Berger 03-01-1996
If we could split ourselves

Silence Within Us

by Rose Marie Berger 01-01-1996
The architecture of life in two foreign films.

A Stream of Saints

by Rose Marie Berger 11-01-1995
Ten years of Sojourners interns.

May Sarton: Years of Praise

by Rose Marie Berger 09-01-1995

"I am determined to die where I am. In the little house that I rent from good friends, overlooking the sea....We grow toward death."

The Braided River of Language

by Rose Marie Berger 07-01-1995
Poets and their everyday art.