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Louise Johanna Nienas Busacca

Missionary to Italian Immigrants in Wisconsin

Louise Johanna Nienas was born in a sod house in Thompson, North Dakota, and spent her early years on a North Dakota “free claim.” The family later moved to Wisconsin, where Louise received a degree in elementary education. Working as a public school teacher in Racine, Wisconsin, she volunteered as a teacher in the nearby Sunday school of the Italian Mission.

She married the student pastor of the church, and together they helped this new congregation grow in numbers and in depth of faith. Commissioned by the Evangelical Church, the Busaccas were a part of their church’s response to the early twentieth-century influx of Italian immigrants in the highly industrialized cities of Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Louise and her husband moved to Kenosha in 1922 to open a new mission for Italian immigrants. Even as she raised four boys, Louise Busacca taught, called in homes, and played the organ for services of worship. She was a pioneer missionary and, with her husband, worked for many years among immigrant families. In her autobiography, Louise Busacca wrote: “I loved the mission work and felt I was in the place God wanted me to be.”

Taken from They Went Out Not Knowing… An Encyclopedia of One Hundred Women in Mission (New York: Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, 1986). Used with permission of United Methodist Women.


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