Are You Qualified for Sainthood?: The Margery Kempe Test

You’ve all heard of the Turing Test– the test of a machine’s ability to imitate human behavior. A machine that passes the test can generate responses indistinguishable from those of a human. Here I present to you a similar concept with a slightly different execution: the Margery Kempe Test. This short little quiz will analyze how well a regular human can imitate the behavior of a saint. Anyone who passes this test is indistinguishable from an actual late medieval saint who dutifully magnified the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, and therefore should be canonized immediately.

The following is based on the autobiography of Margery Kempe, a fourteenth-century mother-of-fourteen with a flair for the dramatic, who devoted much of her life to trying to pass this test before it even existed. (One might even say she Invented it.)

  1. Do you preface sex with your husband by clarifying that it’s definitely a sin? Do you resent him because you know God wants you to remain chaste?
  2. Do you martyr yourself by crying profusely before consenting to adulterous sex in church?
  3. Do you have at least fourteen children?
  4. Is your dad the mayor? Do you have a husband whose wealth and renown will never compare?
  5. Are you faultless in all sub-ideal situations, including those you caused?
  6. Have you ever had to shut down your own brewery because you’re so bad at making beer?
  7. Have you ever slandered yourself and your family because the Devil told you to?
  8. Do you have a secret sin that you won’t confess to the priest? Are you waiting for the priest to beg you for confession of your secret sin?
  9. Does the Devil’s Madness make you curse your friends?
  10. Are you chided and rebuked by the world for your grace and virtue?
  11. Were you, after years of instability, perfectly drawn and steered to enter the way of perfection (which perfect way Christ our Saviour in his proper person exemplified)?
  12. Do your tears of contrition count you as a martyr?
  13. Do you find that calling yourself “the creature” is preferable to having a regular name that regular people have?
  14. Do you desire that the work of God and the name of our Savior Christ Jesus be magnified?

If you answered “yes” to at least every single question, congratulations! You’re basically saintly! Margery would still be convinced she’s better than you, but you’ve just about done her proud. If you contact the pope about it, or write yourself an autobiography, maybe you’ll be canonized once you die. (Maybe not.) Continue in your dutiful martyrdom by crying at every opportunity, and may the mercy of ower sovereyn Savyowr Cryst Jesu be with you always.

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