Senior Editor, Sojourners magazine
Photo: Brandon Hook / Sojourners

Invite Rose to Speak

Rose, a native of the West Coast, lives in Washington, D.C. She has been on Sojourners staff since 1986.

For more than 30 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.

A native of the West Coast, Rose has lived in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C. since the mid-1980s. In the course of a 30 plus-year career in faith-based activism, advocacy journalism, and pastoral leadership, she 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 Associate 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 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 the Southern Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C., in the Anacostia watershed on traditional Piscataway lands.

Posts By This Author

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.

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.

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.

A Christmas Psalm

by Rose Marie Berger 12-01-1994

Christmas came early this year, Lord

A Revolution From Within

by Rose Marie Berger 12-01-1994
Small groups and the renewal of the church.

Dancing Toward Peace in Northern Ireland

by Julie Polter, by Rose Marie Berger 11-01-1994

A tense, cautious hope for a peaceful future in Northern Ireland emerged with the cease-fire called on August 31 by the Irish Republican Army...

At The Landing

by Rose Marie Berger 09-01-1994

"I am mooring my rowboat
at the dock of the island called God."
—Anne Sexton
The Awful Rowing Toward God

The Growing Seed

by Rose Marie Berger 05-01-1994

This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed upon the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.

The Ache and Fire of War

by Rose Marie Berger 04-01-1994

We got off the 11th Street bus in downtown Washington and headed toward the people gathering on the 10th Street overpass. A man in his early 40s fell into step with us.

Cesar Chavez: A Seed of Hope

by Rose Marie Berger 07-01-1993
Scott Beale / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Scott Beale / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The eagle on the red and black banner of the United Farm Workers union can be likened to the Aztec deity, Quetzacoatl, the plumed, phoenix-like serpent-god that dies descending into the Earth, only

The Dove of Vukovar

by Rose Marie Berger 04-01-1993

For Mary, Ancilla, Elizabeth. Croatia and Bosnia, 1993

Koinonia

by Rose Marie Berger 12-01-1992

A poem in celebration of 50 years at Koinonia