Goswin studied in Paderborn and Mainz (1611–1615), where he was promoted priest on 28 October 1614.
He was chosen less than a week after the death of his predecessor Aloysius Gottifredi, on 17 March 1652.
During these years the quarrels with the Jansenist theologians were growing more and more acrimonious, especially in France where Blaise Pascal, French scientist, philosopher and jansenist sympathizer was leading the attack on the Jesuits. The great controversy on the Chinese Rites (1645) continued. Owing to his great age, Father Nickel obtained from the 11th General Congregation the election of Gian Paolo Oliva as vicar-general with right of succession (on 7 June 1661). This was approved by Pope Alexander VII.