Even as a young man, Joseph loved to attend Mass and was known for his humility and fervor in prayer. After his ordination he was assigned to a seminary in Turin. There he worked especially against the spirit of Jansenism, an excessive preoccupation with sin and damnation. Joseph used the works of St. Francis de Sales and St. Alphonsus Liguori to moderate the rigorism popular at the seminary.
Joseph recommended membership in the Secular Franciscan Order to priests. He urged devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and encouraged daily Communion. In addition to his teaching duties, Joseph was an excellent preacher, confessor and retreat master. Noted for his work with condemned prisoners, Joseph helped many of them die at peace with God.
St. John Bosco was one of Joseph’s pupils. Joseph urged John Bosco to establish the Salesians to work with the youth of Turin. Joseph was canonized in 1947.