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

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

A Gritty Liturgy of Faith

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

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 Revolution From Within

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

A Christmas Psalm

by Rose Marie Berger 12-01-1994

Christmas came early this year, Lord

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

Mustard Seeds and Marigolds

by Rose Marie Berger 12-01-1992

The poet plants the kingdom


by Rose Marie Berger 12-01-1992

A poem in celebration of 50 years at Koinonia

Lazarus and the Rich Man

by Rose Marie Berger 08-01-1992

Hamlet, North Carolina (Luke 16:19-31)

Fishing Off Pelican, Alaska

by Rose Marie Berger 11-01-1991

A poem

A Stand of Spirits

by Rose Marie Berger 11-01-1990

A poem about Kenya

At Aukerman's Farm

by Rose Marie Berger 07-01-1989

At Aukermans' farm I press my/right shoulder deep into boulder

In the City

by Rose Marie Berger 06-01-1988

A poem