Birgitta Winberg was born in 1953, in Stockholm, Sweden and brought up in a working class environment, with no academic tradition. Raised in a suburb of Stockholm, she experienced the calling to the priesthood quite early, at the time of my confirmation, when she was 15 years old. Winberg studied theology at the University of Uppsala and earned a Bachelor of Divinity in 1984. She was ordained a priest in the Stockholm diocese, Church of Sweden in 1985. She felt that her calling was to work with people who were not traditional church people, so she worked her first five years in a multicultural suburb with many problems. After that Winberg was asked by the bishop who ordained her, Professor Krister Stendahl of Harvard University, to become a chaplain at a Stockholm prison. “You are the right person for that,” he said. And he was right. She worked as a prison chaplain for 22 years.
During this time Winberg was involved in international prison chaplaincy work through the International Prison Chaplains Association. She represented Europe for ten years and was the president of the organization for five years. During this time she worked with representatives of different churches and religions, chaired side-events at UN conferences, visited prisons and prison chaplaincy teams all over the world to encourage and equip prison chaplains to work with human rights for inmates. After arranging a world-conference in Stockholm 2010, she was asked by Bishop Eva Brunne in Stockholm to work with interreligious dialogue at the diocese. Since 2010 she's worked at the Centre for Interreligious Dialogue in Stockholm, for the Church of Sweden, and the diocese of Stockholm.
Winberg is single, as so many Swedes are, living in the inner city of Stockholm with her dog Mary.