in Maria-sama ga Miteru (Maria Watches Over Us), every morning the girls pray to a statue of Maria. It's obvious that Maria is some sort of saint related to the school, but I am wondering: is Maria someone in real life or was she made up just for the anime?
Maria is also known as Mary, or the holy virgin Mary. She is one of the key points in several streams of religion. The Maria in the series seems to be based on this.