Timotheo Atila was born in 1941 at Kaksingri, Roo, in the old Migori District, but now Suba District. The son of Jacob Ojwang and Catherine Akinyi, Timothy belonged to the Kakione Clan of Suba community. Five years after the birth of Atila (named Hitler or Ahitler after Adolf Hitler of Germany); his family moved to Migori and settled in Raha village, Migori District.
Timothy Atila had good education according to the standards of his time. He completed secondary school education before becoming a member of Legion Maria clergy. He also attained Advanced Level Certificate while serving as a clergy. In March 1963, Timothy Atila was consecrated as the first Legion Maria cardinal. And in 1964, he rose to the papal rank after Legion Maria broke ranks with the Roman Catholic Church.
Being a warm, gentle and humble man, Timothy Atila had a gracious presence around him. He looked calm in the face of hardship and radiant in the face of gloom. During the time of Baba Simeo, Timothy Atila was down to earth. You would never know he was the pope unless someone reminded you of that. He sat down on the floor in the presence of the lord, always rendering his service whenever necessary, but always reminding himself that he was a sinful man who was in dire need for the grace of the God.
As a leader, Timothy Atila was selfless. He allowed every priest, bishop, archbishop and cardinal to do his job without undue interference. He knew the value of giving other people their space. But he was also firm and courageous. His unwavering resolve was at its peak when he stood above the petty divisions among Legion Maria members and took the body of Baba Simeo to Calvary, honoring the wishes of his lord without blinking an eye or ceding ground to human desires.
After the return of Baba Simeo to heaven, Timothy Atila led Legion Maria as a true shepherd. He faced rebellion from Cardinal Owino Obimbo, the lord’s brother, and remained cool even at the face of an unnecessary court battle. And during his time, more flock was added to the fold and Legio grew stronger.
Timothy Atila died on 12th June 1998 and was buried on 20th June 1998. He was buried at St. Mary Basilica, Calvary, which is the Legion Maria headquarters. His burial site is today a shrine visited by Legion Maria faithful. The burial service was conducted by his Eminence Cardinal Dean Lawrence Chiaji.
Timothy has gone ahead of us. He has joined the lord in his glory. He often greets us through the Holy Spirit, reminding us that when we serve the lord with dedication, humility and truth, we will shine in his Kingdom. He calls us to serve the lord; to remain faithful and humble; and to use our talents in spreading the message of the glory of God. He is our rock forever, the first among us to receive the keys to the gates of heaven, and the one who is forever the rock of Legion Maria.
“Timothy Atila, our rock. Pray for us so we can lead lives that are as humble as yours. Inspire us to know that leadership is not about ourselves but about the people we lead. Call us to know the lord, and lead us through the way, just as you led us when you were our leader here on earth. Amen.”