A Canvas of Faith: My Journey as an Assumptionist Brother

Br. Blair Nuyda, A.A.

Br. Blair Nuyda, A.A.

Life is a vast canvas, and each of us is an artist, painting our journey with strokes of experience, faith, and discovery. My journey as an Assumptionist Brother has been a blend of vibrant colors and subtle hues, marked by significant moments of inspiration and profound calls to service. This is the story of how my vocation unfolded, shaped by my early years in the Philippines, transformative experiences, and a deep commitment to living out the charism of the Assumptionists.

Birth and Beginnings

I was born on October 6, 1979, in the bustling city of Manila, Philippines. My mother was a dedicated nurse, and my father was a meticulous engineer. Being an only child, I often found creative ways to entertain myself, much to my parents’ annoyance. I vividly remember drawing on the walls with crayons, transforming our home into a gallery of my youthful imagination. Little did I know, these early artistic endeavors would be the first steps on my journey towards a life deeply intertwined with faith and creativity.

Growing up in the Philippines, the Salubong tradition during Easter left a lasting impression on me. This ceremonial reenactment of the meeting between the Risen Christ and His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, was a powerful symbol of hope and renewal. The vibrant processions, the joyful hymns, and the community’s shared faith were etched into my heart, fostering a deep connection to my cultural and religious heritage. I began to be curious about the things I saw, and drew them as my way of engaging with Christian symbols, images, and stories.

In 1995, the World Youth Day in Manila was a pivotal moment in my life. Seeing Pope John Paul II and being surrounded by millions of young Catholics from around the world was an awe-inspiring experience. I saw the youth and the Church in celebration, and I wanted to be truly part of this, and considered becoming more involved in a life of service and faith. It was here that I first felt the stirrings of a vocation, a call to serve God in a unique and meaningful way.

Formation and Early Career

Shortly after, my parents migrated to the United States, seeking better opportunities. Meanwhile, I entered the seminary as an aspirant of the Society of Saint Paul in the Philippines, where I earned my degree in Mass Communication and Philosophy. The blend of faith and media intrigued me, and I felt called to explore how these fields could intersect and enrich each other.

Out in the world, I took on various roles. I worked as a barista and café supervisor, where I learned the art of making the perfect coffee and the importance of community in a shared space. Later, I became a literature teacher at Assumption College, run by the Religious of the Assumption sisters. Teaching literature allowed me to delve into the stories that shape our humanity and connect with students on a profound level.

Joining the Assumptionists

In 2006, the Assumptionists established a foundation in Manila. I was drawn by their life together as a new community.  In 2009, I took my first vows, marking a significant commitment to my vocation. Eventually, I became one of the first teachers at what is now the Assumption Language College and served as the editor of Living with Christ Philippines. These roles allowed me to merge my communication skills with my theological studies, fostering a deeper understanding of faith in everyday life.

Three years later, I transferred to the United States, where I continued my editorial work with Living with Christ Philippines and became a campus minister at Assumption College in Worcester, MA. The experience of working closely with students and faculty deepened my appreciation for the educational apostolate.

Embracing Creativity and Leadership

In 2015, I moved to Brighton and pursued a degree in Illustration at the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. During this time, I had the pleasure of leading the Residency Program designed to welcome young lay men within the Assumptionist community in Brighton. The program aims at developing friendship and mutual knowledge between different states of life within the Church.

Until recently, I also served as the local treasurer, and directed Vocation Ministry. These roles honed my leadership skills and allowed me to propose and implement creative initiatives within the community.

The following year, I professed my perpetual vows and began discerning new apostolic projects. The questions “What are you passionate about?” and “What are you going to do?” guided me to propose creative ideas that blended my artistic talents with my commitment to the Church.

Academic Pursuits and Ongoing Ministry

In 2019, I embarked on doctoral studies at Boston University, focusing on Transformational Leadership with a concentration in Church and the Arts. The COVID-19 pandemic posed challenges, but it also provided unique opportunities for reflection and growth. I completed my doctoral degree in 2024, with a dissertation titled Co-Mission: Design Thinking Strategies for Pastor and Artist Partnership towards Church Renewal. This work encapsulated my vision of integrating creativity into pastoral ministry to foster church renewal.

Today, I teach art to middle school students at Austin Prep, a school with deep Augustinian roots. The Assumptionists have been invited to re-establish a presence there, ensuring its Catholic and Augustinian heritage endures. Through teaching, I continue to explore “alternative preaching,” using art as a medium to convey spiritual truths and foster faith in young hearts.

Reflections on My Vocation

As I continue my journey as a Brother in the Assumption, two thoughts resonate deeply within me: “Alternative preaching” and “Brother by choice.” Alternative preaching challenges me to find innovative ways to share the Gospel beyond the pulpit, through art, education, and community engagement. Being a Brother reminds me of my commitment to fraternity, humility, and service, embracing my role within the Assumptionist family without pursuing ordination.

As a Brother, I find profound purpose and a deep sense of belonging. It is a path that allows me to live the Gospel fully, to love and serve with creativity and dedication, and to walk humbly with God and my community.

I am profoundly grateful for the support, encouragement, and mentorship I have received from my brothers in the Assumptionist community. Their unwavering belief in my vocation, coupled with their willingness to offer challenging critiques, has been invaluable in shaping my journey. Whether through shared moments of prayer, heartfelt conversations, or collaborative projects, my brothers have consistently been a source of strength and inspiration. Their companionship has enriched my adventure, making each step more meaningful and each challenge more surmountable. This brotherhood has not only nurtured my growth but has also deepened my commitment to living out our shared mission with love and dedication.