History: Development of the Workshop

The Older Women's Legacy Circle Memoir Project was a two-year project offering guided autobiography workshops for senior women. The project was funded by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word and sponsored by the Story Circle Network, to carry out its mission of helping women everywhere share the stories of their lives.

The project funding allowed the Story Circle Network to develop the facilitator's manual and workbook, to find and train facilitators, and offer nearly fifty workshops to over 500 women. Over a two-year period the materials were used, evaluated, and revised. Stories from each workshop were collected and published in booklet form and is being archived for the use of future historians. A larger collection of stories—With Courage and Common Sense: Memoirs From the Older Women's Legacy Circles—was published in 2003 by the University of Texas Press. Now that the grant-funded phase of the project has come to an end, both the facilitator's manual and workbook are being made available nationwide, along with other support activities offered by the Story Circle Network through this OWL-Circle website.

Stories give us our sense of identity; they define our place in the world...That's because stories not only reflect who we are as individuals but also give us ever-changing kaleidoscopic glimpses of what it's like to be members of the human family.
—Anne B. Simpkinson