In 1583, the church recognised Leonardi's efforts and allowed him and those he worked with, to take vows and become a simple church organization. This threatened, somehow (not sure of the details) the power structure in Lucca and Leonardi was banished, never to return as an unfettered citizen.
Leonardi had the support of many in the church, and that included Philip Neri, who provided the cityless priest with a place to live in Rome. In 1595 Leonardi's group was recognised by the church as an official "religious Congregation." October 9, is the feast day for St. Giovanni Leonardi since most, but not all, accounts have him dying on that day. He had contracted the plague while taking care of poor plague victims.
Multiple sources list another interesting detail. Neri provided Leonardi with a place to live, and a cat. This raises a variety of scenarios. Was Neri looking for a good home for an extra cat? Unlikely in those days, when cats could wander (no risk of traffic accidents). Was he wanting to provide a friend with a bit of luxury in a life of poverty they both willingly undertook? Was Neri making a religious sacrifice in giving up what was one of those rare angelic cats? Was Neri concerned that the lodgings he provided for his friend was infested with vermin? And why, oh why, is this detail included in the history of St. Giovanni Leonardi?