I figure that the communities that say “our older vocations keep leaving, so it’s better to have an age limit” are speaking from experience, but it does seem odd to me.
For me, I feel like I am much more flexible and less certain that I am always right now than I was ten years ago. That’s part of “growing up.”
And, certainly, when the diocesean newspaper has biographies of newly ordained priests, many many of them are well into mid-life. Yes, being a diocesean priest is different than a consecrated religious living under a Rule. (See the contrasting dinner scenes in “Doubt.”) But still.
However, if it is the case that very frequently older vocations have a harder time adapting in communities that interpret their Rule more strictly, it does make sense that communities with a more flexible understanding of their Rule might have less need for an age limit.
(This is the point where JREducation will point out that I’m using terms imprecisely and Orders are different from Congregations and Rules are different from Constitutions etc etc etc. I’m sure he’s right but the distinctions make my head spin. Substitute “The guiding principles that tell you how life is lived in this community.”)