OST Profile: Discerning The Call Of The Holy Spirit

In 2009 Oblate School of Theology (OST) graduate Lori Peery was at a crossroads and had to discern what she wanted to do with the rest of her life.

At the time, Peery was a stay-at-home mom and had no recent work history outside of the tireless and demanding job as mom and homemaker. Peery, who has a Doctorate of Jurisprudence, worked for five years in criminal defense and family law and later probate before working in the home.

“I had two kids still living at home. I thought that they’ll all be gone soon and asked myself — where do I want to be?” Peery’s answer did not come without much prayer and contemplation.

She prayed and then met with a spiritual director who put her on a prayer regiment. “This was the first time that I spent time every day praying to hear what the Holy Spirit had to tell me,” says Peery, adding, “this is not to say that the Spirit wasn’t working through me on other decisions.”

During this period of discernment, Peery went to a retreat where she met the facilitator and speaker, Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI, then-President of OST. “I had never heard of Fr. Rolheiser or OST. During that retreat is when I decided I wanted to go to OST.”

Peery applied to and was admitted to OST in the fall of 2010, where she enrolled in the Master of Arts in Theology program. Peery, who graduated in 2015, enjoyed her time and studies at OST, but knew the

MA Theology was the stepping stone she needed to get to where the Holy Spirit was leading — that being Canon Law.

Peery credits conversations she had with OST priests with helping her to understand better the need for individuals with legal knowledge to have a theological base. “They helped me to see that there was a need for a pastoral interpretation of the law and not just a legalistic understanding,” says Peery.

“Law grounds you in some non-negotiables. But we need to be pastoral, considering the facts of a situation while also looking at a person’s life experience and human condition. I was having a conversation with a seminarian the other day about how he is needed in Canon Law ministry,” says Peery.

Peery also credits OST with providing her with the essential introduction to the life of the Church. “I had been a Catholic all my life, but I had sat in the pews and never thought about the Church hierarchy or the practical functions of the Church. I never thought about the liturgy; however, while at OST, I was on a committee responsible for planning liturgy,” says Peery.

After graduating from OST, Peery went

to St. Paul’s University in Ottawa, Canada, where she lived and studied Canon Law for two years — only spending summers and Christmas breaks back home.

Today, Peery has successfully melded her law and theology degrees as the Vice-Chancellor for the Archdiocese of San Antonio. Another OST graduate, Auxiliary Bishop Gary Janak, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, is her direct supervisor. Peery’s duties vary from day to day, but she notes that she spends much time on calls and researching Canon Law.

“I love what I do,” she says. And apparently, her supervisor loves the work Peery does as well. She recently was given additional responsibilities that mean she will serve as the Episcopal Delegate for Ecumenism, Interreligious-Faith, and Community Affairs.


Originally published in OST News, writer – Cynthia Ladson