If you're talking aboiut the FI (Franciscans of the Immaculate), they follow the same rule as the other Franciscan communities. Franciscans do not place a stong focus on ordaining priests, though we have had priests since the 1200s. The focus is always on being faithful to the Gospel following the inspiration of St. Francis as he has given it to us in the rule and the testament.
Each of the obediences, that's what we call each branch, because each is obedient to its own General Superior and General Constitutions, though we all follow the same rule . . . each obedience has a particular focus and the formation prepares the friar to live the life according to the rule and to serve according to the ministry of the community.
The ministry of the community and the General Constitutions are the determining factors in where formation takes place. The FI are not large enough to have canonical provinces. They are still a small community. Therefore, they have one center for formation, which is in Italy. The larger obediences, such as the Franciscans, Capuchins, Conventuals and Third Order Regular have canonical provinces, because they are larger. They form their men inside their provinces. The other Franciscans are not that big. We do not have many places to go for formation.
As to the determination of who may or may not be ordained, that's up to the Superior General and the General Constitutions. The final call to Holy Orders comes from Christ, but only through the canonical authority in the community, never through the individual. I don't decide that I have a calling to the priesthood. I assume that I do. The community decides according to the mind of the superior and the policies in the constitution.
In their constitution, they have determined that Christ does not call men to the priesthood beyond a certain age. Christ, who never usurps his Church, works within those boundaries. He never calls someone where he cannot go. If the constitutions of the FI say that no one above a certain age may be ordained, then Christ will not call a man to the priesthood withing that form of religious life, if that person has exceeded the age limit.
It sounds more complex than what it is. That being said, among Franciscans, not being ordained is not a catastrophe, because the life and mission of the Franciscan family is defined by the life and mission of St. Francis, not by the Sacrament of Holy Orders as it would be for a community such as the Jesuits or the Fathers of Mercy. They were founded as communities for clerics. Franciscans were founded as a family for clerics, lay, men, women, married, single, and celibate. The focus is on the way of life, not the ministerial priesthood. That's why it's easier to have tighter restrictions on who is called to the minsiterial priesthood. The family can live without it, considering that the founder was not a priest.
Br. JR, OSF :)