Charity was the brightest mark of his life. His principality of Oria he sold for forty thousand crowns, and gave the whole sum to the poor in one day. Twenty thousand crowns being left him as a legacy he gave the whole to the poor. The incomes of the benefices wherewith he had been loaded by his uncle, he spent upon the needs of the poor, except what he used for himself. When the plague grievously raged in Milan, he gave up to the sick poor the furniture of his own house, even to his own bedding, and thenceforward slept upon the boards. He constantly visited the sick, cheered them by his fatherly kindness, and wonderfully comforted them, ministering to them with his own hands the Sacraments of the Church. At the same time he drew near to plead for them with God in lowly entreaty, and ordered a public Procession wherein he walked himself carrying a Cross, with a rope halter round his neck, and his bare feet bleeding from the stones, and fain to turn away the Divine anger by offering himself as a scapegoat for the sins of his people. He was a stout defender of the freedom of the Church. But in the Church he was an earnest reformer of discipline, and once, when he was engaged in prayer, some conspirators took a shot at him with a blunderbuss, but, though the ball struck him, the power of God kept him unharmed.
He was remarkable for his abstinence. He very often fasted upon nothing but bread and water, and sometimes nothing but lupines. He tamed his body by depriving himself of sleep, by very rough haircloth, and by constant scourging. He was an earnest practiser of lowliness and meekness. However much he was taken up with business, he never gave himself relaxation from prayer and from preaching the word of God. He built many churches, convents, and schools. He wrote much matter, useful more especially for the good of Bishops. The publication of the Parish Priests' Catechism was due to his care. In October 1584, he withdrew himself, for the purpose of making a retreat, to the Sacro Monte of Varallo, an hill whereon the incidents of the Lord's sufferings are represented in life-size groups of coloured figures. He was taken ill of an ague, and lived there for some days a life of torture by voluntary suffering, but of sweetness by thoughts of Christ's woes. After his return to Milan, his sickness became hopeless, and early in the night between the 3rd and 4th days of November, in the 47th year of his own age, and in that of our Lord 1584, covered with ashes and sackcloth, and with his eyes fixed upon the image of Christ crucified, he exchanged earth for heaven. He was famous for miracles, and Pope Paul V numbered him among the Saints.