I am also an older gentleman who was investigating life as a monk. None of the dioceses in the USA want a man of 62 to enter the seminary (I checked…with each and every one of them – 2 years ago), so I went on a “Come and See” 4-day retreat at the Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Trinity in Huntsville, Utah.
This is a Cistercian (a.k.a. “Trappist”) abbey…which is a stricter form of Benedictine spirituality. I grew to love these wonderful monks in the short time I spent with them. And they would have been willing to consider me as a possible postulant, regardless of my age, because the average age at that monastery was 81 (so I was told). The only reason I did not pursue the entry process is that I feel called to the priesthood – a path that would probably not be available to me there. I might enter as a brother monk, and remain that way the rest of my life…which is great, if you feel called to that vocation. I feel called to the priesthood.
Also, I found out that this was the most conservative of all the Cistercian monasteries here in the USA. I saw one thing that was a bit “liberal” – inviting everyone to stand around the altar, holding hands, just before the final prayers before Holy Communion. This is not part of the rubrics of Roman Catholic liturgy…and it blurs the lines between the priest and the laity. But this was really the only thing I saw that was out of line. The rest of their lifestyle and spirituality was truly beautiful and inspiring. They would rise for morning Lauds at 3:00 a.m., and the community would come together in the chapel for prayer several times each day. In between, they would do manual labor in the fields.
If you are seriously thinking about entering the world of a monk, you would do yourself a favor by experiencing life at this abbey! They run these “Come and See” retreats at regular intervals.
God bless you!