The Harlem Ashram (1940-1948) was a grand experiment that didn't go very far. The interracial Christian commune at Fifth Avenue and 125th Street was modeled after ashrams, or Hindu religious centers, that Gandhi had established in India. Its founders were two white men, Ralph Templin and Jay Holmes Smith, who had been Methodist missionaries in India in the 1930s. There they became interested in Gandhi's synthesis of religion, politics, and nonviolent protest.
Templin and Smith were part of a cohort of American pacifists who saw Gandhi’s work as a potential model for political and religious activism in the United States.
Many American Catholic bishops have yet to heed Pope Francis’s example of simplicity. According to a CNN investigation, ten of 34 active archbishops in the United States live in domiciles worth more than a million dollars. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York City lives in a 15,000-square-foot mansion on Madison Avenue that is worth at least $30 million. Dolan has expressed misgivings about his residence, but so far there are no plans for him to move or to sell the building. In Boston, Cardinal Sean O’Malley lives more simply in a rundown rectory in the city’s South End (CNN.com, August).