This web site is a memorial to those individuals who were passionate about the reform of the
Roman Catholic liturgy as set forth in Sacrosanctum Concilium (the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy)
and who now, in eternal life, worship the God whom they served in this life.

Urban Gertken, OSB

Urban (Teresa) Gertken, OSB
January 5, 1893 - April 10, 1987

Sister Urban (Teresa) Gertken, OSB, was born in Richmond, MN, on January 5, 1893, the ninth of thirteen children in the family of Lucas and Margaret (Schneider) Gertken. She attended the Richmond District School, where the teachers were Benedictine Sisters, and came to Saint Benedict's Monastery, St. Joseph, MN, in 1908. She graduated from Saint Benedict's Academy in 1910, entered the novitiate in 1911 and made vows on July 11, 1912.

Sister Urban's first organ teacher was her father; at Saint Benedict's she was Sister Ulric Beste's pupil. She earned a B.A. in Music from the College of Saint Benedict in 1924 and a Master's in Music from Chicago Musical College in 1938. She did graduate work in choral and liturgical music under outstanding Benedictine authorities.

Sister Urban lived all of her life as a religious at Saint Benedict's, using her musical gifts for teaching piano, organ, Gregorian chant and rubrics, and as organist and choir director. She began teaching organ and piano in Saint Benedict's Academy in 1912, was a member of the first College of Saint Benedict faculty and head of the Music Department from the early 1930's to 1948. She served as organist for the chapel from 1910 to 1966 and in addition directed the Schola from 1921 to 1961. Under her direction the Schola recorded for the Gregorian Institute of America and for radio programs.

Sister Urban taught the Sisters the musical elements of the Divine Office beginning in 1926 when it was adopted by the community. Her greatest contribution was to establish Saint Benedict's Monastery's liturgical life on the firm theological and liturgical principals which the Liturgical Movement, promoted by Virgil Michel, OSB, was promulgating in America. When the Sisters then went out to the one-hundred-plus schools to teach, they, in turn, affected the liturgical revival in the parishes.

Sister Urban (Teresa) Gertken, 94, died at Saint Benedict's Monastery on April 10, 1987, three months before her 75th anniversary of profession as a Benedictine Sister. Her sisters, Sisters, Assumpta, Gemma and Cecile, and other Sisters were with her, singing the "Exu1tet."

Sister is survived by three of her six sisters who entered our community. Four sisters and five brothers, four of whom were Benedictine monks, preceded her in death. Throughout her life Sister Urban praised God and helped others praise God with prayerful music. May God now receive her into the fullness of life and joy.

Tribute prepared by the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict, Saint Joseph, Minnesota.