96 Year Old Artist Shares Her Inspiration
Sister Gerardine Mueller, O.P., Artist, Professor Emerita at Caldwell University, gives us insight into her extensive career as an artist and how at 96-years-old she is still creating one-of-a-kind pieces.
"Welcome to Life & Living. I'm Joanna Gagis. At 96 years young, she's still a prolific artist who's changing lives and impacting the next generation of art students. She's Sister Gerardine Muller, an artist and former Caldwell University professor. Welcome to the program Sister Gerardine. Thank you. It's a pleasure to have you. It's not very often that we get to talk to someone with your level of expertise and someone who's created as much art as you have. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got your start as an artist? My mother was an artist and I was planning to be an artist from high school on, and when I began college, I went into science and history as my majors. And then one of the professors notified the Sisters that I had this talent. So I was maneuvered into the art field. But my mother was an artist, and I have a love for it from her. When did you know that you wanted to become a nun? When I was three. [laughter] Wait a minute? How does the three-year-old know that they want to pursue that path? I guess I knew I was... I knew about Sisters. My mother was... aunt was a nun, so I don't know, but it wasn't serious of course, but that's what I thought of. But you said it, at three years old? Yeah. When did that become a reality and a passion for you? Probably in late grade school. I had my life figured out. and... Of course you did by the age of what? Ten? [laughter] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, and... Somehow with you I believe that! [laughter] Then in high school, I decided definitely this was my life calling. So you become a nun, and was art always there for you through the process? Yes. My mother, as I said, my mother was an artist, and I always loved it. I had planned to go to art high school, and I ended up in a regular high school, and heading towards art always. And what about teaching? Was teaching always a part of that for you? I guess it grew from the idea of art and teaching. I didn't particularly want to teach, but definitely art. So you started at Caldwell University in 1960, it was Caldwell College back then? Yes. Right? Now Caldwell University. You started there in 1960...? Teaching. Teaching? Yes. Yes. Talk about the growth of the art program over the years and how you've seen it really develop and blossom. Well right away, in the beginning, it was strong. We had very fine students, and from there, it developed even further. I ended up at the college with about 60-65..."