Margery Kempe was the daughter of a prosperous merchant family in Lynn, England. Soon after her first child was born, she began experiencing mystical visions of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, who spoke to her. These episodes spurred her on to a life of unusual religious zeal, including pilgrimages throughout England and abroad. Kempe's outspokenness and conviction of her special divine calling—in addition to bouts of crying and screaming—made her notorious among her English contemporaries. Some called for her to be burnt as a heretic, while others declared her a saint.