- Duce, Ivy O.
- (1895–1981)founder of Sufism ReorientedIvy O. Duce was an American proponent and leader of Sufism. She spread the universalist teachings of MEHER BABA.Ivy Duce was born Ivy Judd and raised in the Episcopal Church. She served in the American Red Cross during World War I and after the war mar-ried and became a mother. During the 1930s she became interested in astrology. Around 1940, she became fascinated with the chart of Rabia Martin (aka Ada Ginsberg, 1871–1947) and decided to meet her. It turned out that Martin was the succes-sor in America of the Indian Sufi teacher Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882–1927), who had offered an Islamic mysticism largely devoid of the peculiari-ties of Islamic thought. Duce became a follower of Martin’s Sufi movement and eventually succeeded her as the leader in 1947.In 1948, Duce met the Indian teacher MEHER BABA, of whom she had already developed a positive opinion from conversations with Martin. Over the next several years she adopted his per-spectives, and he worked out a plan to redirect the Sufi movement she headed. Thus in 1952, Duce founded Sufism Reoriented, which was seen as the creation of Meher Baba. From this point on Duce viewed Sufism not as a form of Islam but as what she termed Universal Truth. She considered anyone who had reached God realization a Sufi. Meher Baba named her spiri-tual director or murshida of the organization, identified her as a seventh-plane master, and promised that her successors would be of an equally high status. He also promised that Sufism Reoriented would be a pure channel for God for the next 700 years (until his next incarnation as an AVATA R).Duce was the only person in the West whom Meher Baba ever appointed as a spiritual teacher. Though head of a relatively small organization, she was widely recognized by the loosely orga-nized movement that grew up around Meher Baba. Duce served for almost three decades.Shortly before her death in 1981, she appointed James Mackie (b. 1932) as her successor.Further reading: Ivy Duce, How a Master Works (Wal-nut Creek, Calif.: Sufism Reoriented, 1975); ———, What Am I Doing Here? (San Francisco: Sufism Reori-ented, 1966); Ivy Duce and James Mackie, Gurus and Psychotherapists: Spiritual versus Psychological Learning (Lafayette, Calif.: Searchlight Seminars, 1981).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.