Abbess Edith Street

Winnie Street aged 21, with Terry

 

 

Winifred Street was born on 13th April 1911 in Wakefield, Yorkshire, the youngest of a Catholic family of three children. Her mother died when she was four, and she went with her sister Barbara as a boarder with the Daughters of Jesus.

 

Her father remarried and the family moved to Colne, Lancashire. Her brother George became a priest, dying in wartime bombing in Manchester. Her sister joined the Daughters of Jesus. Winifred trained at Mount Pleasant and taught in a Catholic primary school in a poor area of Liverpool. She lived with her beloved stepmother and father until they died.

 

 

 

 

 

Mother Edith with Peterkin

 

 

She was over forty when she entered Colwich. In 1957 she was solemnly professed, the first choir nun since 1944. When Abbess Francis Wilcox was elected in 1963, she appointed Dame Edith Prioress. The Second Vatican Council brought changes in the Church and religious life that were a great inspiration to Dame Edith. In 1967 the amalgamation with Saint Scholastica's Priory Atherstone took place and a nun from Atherstone became Prioress until 1975, when Dame Edith again became Prioress. She filled many other offices including Novice Mistress, First Chantress and Sacristan.


She led the community through the difficult time of Abbess Francis's illness and death and, in 1982, was elected to succeed her. Mother Edith was the first Abbess to be elected for twelve years instead of for life. She was in her seventy first year and not strong in health. From 1983 she carried through the incorporation of five nuns from Holme Eden Abbey when it closed. Two nuns made solemn profession while she was Abbess, but ten died. Abbess Edith oversaw continual repairs to the building, and the introduction of more varied singing of the English liturgy. Her health gave cause for concern, but the Abbot President resisted her offers of resignation until the end of her term of office. She handed on to her successor a community that was financially secure, peaceful and prayerful.