Once upon a time in a land not so far away, a woman named Ana appeared in a little town called Siena, Italy. Many people scorned her, saying that she was frightening. The people whispered among themselves in their native Itallian tongue, "Just look at her! She's far too thin!" "She has no last name that she will tell us." "Does she ever eat? I saw her buy a lot of food and then throw it all away." "Her only response when i asked her where she came from was 'my own willpower.' What is that to mean?" Almost the entire town began to shun her. But not Caterina Benincasa. This lovely sixteen year old girl was far too kind hearted to shun anyone. Besides, she thought to herself, Ana seems to be hurting just as much as i am.
One day on the street, Caterina approached the fearsome stranger that seemed far from fightening to her. "Are you lonely?" she asked her.
Ana smiled and nodded. "Profoundly." She offered Caterina her arm. "You are too; i can see it. You don't have to be anymore. I can be your friend."
Caterina hugged her tightly and they became fast friends from that point on. Caterina always told Ana everything that was hurting her. Even that very first day, she spilled her heart. "My older sister has died, and so has my youngest. Now my parents are wanting me to marry my older sister's husband! It's horrid. He was my sister's husband, not mine. And i've already sworn chastity to God in heaven. I cannot marry," she mourned.
That was when Ana showed Caterina something that she promised would solve everything: Fasting. "I used to speak with your older sister," Ana told her. "She used the fast to get that brute of a man she married to treat her better. It really does work for everything."
The fasting was hard for Caterina sometimes, but Ana never let up on her pressure to do so. "The greater the suffering, the greater the triumph," Ana reminded, and Caterina agreed. "Soon you'll be so thin that no man will want you," Ana said gently stroking Caterina's freshly cut hair. "But i'll see you as beautiful."
Caterina smiled. "That's so lovely," she said and fell to sleep.
She became a nun and changed her name to Catherine, and Ana followed her there giving her a helping hand as she fasted and gave away all of her food to the poor. She traveled all over the world helping people and serving her God in Heaven with Ana at her side, never letting her stop the fasting as many people pressured her to do, until she died in Rome at age 33. Ana buried her kindly and went in search of a new friend.
"Why do all of my friends die," she mourned, "and i never will."
It's the truth. That was back in the 1300's, and Ana still has not died. She does have many, many more friends now though. And in 1940, Ana even convinced the Pope to name Catherine a patron saint. Ah, yes, Ana is much much more popular and loved now. She's not lonely anymore. We all love her very much.