About Edwina

Public SpeakingBiography


Born in Lancaster, England, Edwina Gateley earned a Teacher’s Degree from her home country, a Master’s in Theology from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, and certification as an HIV counselor in Illinois.

From 1981 to 1982, Edwina lived for nine months in prayer and solitude in a hermitage in Illinois. In 1983, she spent over a year on the streets of Chicago walking with the homeless and women involved in prostitution. Also in 1983, Edwina founded Genesis House – a house of hospitality and nurturing for women involved in prostitution.

Numerous groups and individuals, including the Mayor of Chicago, the late Joseph Bernardin, and Bill Clinton, former President of the United States, have publicly commended Edwina’s work and ministry. Edwina has also been featured on CBS’s “60 Minutes” and “48 Hours.”

Edwina is currently writing, giving talks and leading retreats nationally and internationally. Her programs include weekends and week-long retreats as well as parish missions. Topics include her own Faith Journey, Discipleship, Women in Scripture, Justice, Mission, Spirituality, Mysticism, and the Feminine Divine.

Edwina with her son Niall

Edwina with her son Niall

The Call

“The love of Christ overwhelms us…” (2 Corinthians 5:14)

At a time in the history of the Church when passive obedience and reception of the sacraments was generally accepted by the laity as what being church was all about, Edwina founded the Volunteer Missionary Movement (VMM). VMM recruits volunteers to accompany the poor in countries around the world.  It is a new and challenging organization calling Christian men and women to respond to Vatican II’s call for full and active engagement in the Church’s life and mission. 

This engagement has a double thrust: To witness to God’s action through Jesus Christ in our world today, And to respond to the material and human needs of the poor and oppressed…

…We who have received the gift of faith, calling us to personal conversion and transformation, are also impelled to share that love. We who have received the love of Christ through the spirit cannot contain it. It must reach out to others, spilling out and touching the world in which we live. We are first called and moved by the very love that lives within us…

– Edwina Gateley, VMM Spirit and Lifestyle