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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Harriet Padberg, RSCJ (1922-2014) - Her Musical Ties Go Back Generations

Sr. Harriet Padberg, RSCJ  (1922-2014)
photo taken at 2013 Spirituality Forum in Atherton, CA

I was sadden to read that Sr. Harriet Padberg had passed away on January 2nd.  I had the pleasure of meeting her last summer in California at the Society of the Sacred Heart Spirituality Forum.  We had a delightful conversation over lunch.  While Harriet may have followed in her older sister Marie  Louise's (1914-1994) footsteps entering the Society of the Sacred Heart, she seems to have also followed a passion for music that spans generations. 

Harriet was the daughter of Marie Louise Kilgen and Harry J. Padberg.  When you read her full obituary on the site you get a flavor of her musical background. But not until you dig deep into her ancestry do you start to learn that she was the great granddaughter of two very prominent men who have as they say "an ear for music".  

Harriet attended the Academy of the Sacred Heart known as City House which closed in 1968 and then she went on to Maryville College located at 2900 Merramac Street.  Coincidentally the 22 acre property is rumored to have been donated in 1872 to the Society of the Sacred Heart by Eugene Miltenberger, Harriet's maternal great uncle.  One connection to the Society that is certain is that Eugene Miltenberger's oldest daughter Elise, entered the novitiate of the Religious of the Sacred Heart at Kenwood, Albany, NY, in 1875.  

Mother Elise Miltenberger, RSCJ (1848-1929)
photo c. 1893 from McAnany-Guignon Genealogy website
Mother Miltenberger would teach at several Sacred Heart schools and became treasurer for the St. Louis Vicariate.  Mother Miltenberger died in 1929 in Saint Charles and is buried with the RSCJ in Calvary Cemetery. 

Harriet's mother's maiden name (Kilgen) was very familiar to me as I had researched the history of the Barat College Chapel years previously.  So I knew that the Organ that was once housed in the Barat College Chapel was manufactured in St. Louis by Kilgen.  Charles C. Kilgen, a Master organ builder was Harriet's grandfather who took over the family business in 1873 upon his father George's death and ran the company until 1923.  "Charles was a descendant of Sebastian Kilgen, who built his first organ in Durlach, Germany in 1640."

Photo of the name plate is from the Kilgen Organ originally purchased in 1925 for
Barat College of the Sacred Heart Chapel ~ Lake Forest, IL 

Charles Kilgen (1859-1932) was married to Louise Robyn (1855-1897),  daughter of William Robyn, a prominent musician in St. Louis and founder of the music department at St. Louis University, as well as several symphony orchestras.  Eugene Miltenberger  (1819- 1879) and Robyn first met in the 1840's when Miltenberger played the violin in one of Robyn's first orchestral ventures. In 1852, Robyn a young widower married Eugene's sister, Clemence Miltenberger (1826-1901).  

William Robyn (1814-1905) 
Harriet's maternal great grandfather 
photo from McAnany-Guignon Genealogy website

So it is no wonder that Harriet Padberg, RSCJ, great granddaughter of both George Kilgen and William Robyn would serve as founder and director of Music Therapy at her alma mater, Maryville.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by her cousin John Padberg, S.J., at Villa Duchesne Academy on Saturday, January 25, 2014 and Sr. Padberg will be buried in Calvary Cemetery.  To read complete funeral details for Sr. Padberg, click here

Website Sources: The Prep News of St. Louis University (November 2011), McAnany Family Genealogy, Find A Grave 

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