"He knew her well enough, this old woman of Mexico, her sons long dead in that blood and violence which her prayers and her prostrations seemed powerless to appease"
Pietà, by Luis de Morales (16th century)
Public DomainPietà, by Luis de Morales (16th century) - Credit: Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid

The metaphor of the mother who loses her sons to the greater cause seems too obvious to need stating in a Catholic country which venerates the Virgin Mary.

It is easy to see why McCarthy would be drawn to Roman Catholic imagery in The Crossing - a form of Christianity characterised by ritual, themes of martyrdom and the power of blood.