Published March 10, 2012
After the frightful ordeal in Montreuil-sur-mer, Sister Simplice's prayers were focused on Fantine's journey to Heaven, the welfare of Cosette and Monsieur Madeleine (for she would never think of him except by that name), and her actions on that fateful night.
Sister Simplice felt some anxiety lingering on her conscience. She was uncertain whether or not her deception was a sin that needed to be confessed. Humility and the law told her yes; logic and loyalty told her no.
And You, Lord? What do You tell me?
For the first time, the Catholic nun dared to begin to understand why Martin Luther may have seen Confession as unnecessary. A person could pray for forgiveness and make peace with God on their own. Where a person may say you had done wrong, God may say you had done right.
Would it have been right for her to put a good man in prison for the sake of telling the truth? Sister Simplice thought not.
A child would have justified such a lie by saying that it was not told out of selfishness.
How could she repent for something she did not regret? She rather thought she would feel more guilty if she had turned Madeleine in, than she did for helping him escape.
In a way, it almost seemed fair, that she had sacrificed her own spiritual well-being to set Madeleine and Cosette free. In this way she was almost as enigmatic as Jean Valjean had been before he went to the trial at Arras; both were faced with choosing their own spirituality or the well-being of others.
Sister Simplice never blamed the man for making her act and think in such a way. She didn't help the convict Jean Valjean; she had never known him. She had aided Monsieur Madeleine, the compassionate and merciful mayor of Montreuil-sur-mer, repaying him for all that he had given the town.
She carried the secret to her grave, not out of guilt or shame, but to protect Madeleine, so he could stay free and take care of Fantine's daughter.
Author's Note: In the anime series Les Misérables: Shoujo Cosette (which doesn't have its own category for fan fiction), Sister Simplice justifies her actions by defining Jean Valjean and Mayor Madeleine as two different people; I kind of paraphrased what she said.