What is a Novena to to St. Therese the Little Flower?

Per this e-mail, can anyone please explain what this entails. I'm not Roman Catholic. Dear Searcher/Joye,, I do not have good news. She is not getting better. Things are worse today. I fear she is leaving us. I am so confused. She is currently in ICU on a respirator. I tell you this so you will understand... show more Per this e-mail, can anyone please explain what this entails. I'm not Roman Catholic.

Dear Searcher/Joye,,
I do not have good news. She is not getting better. Things are worse today. I fear she is leaving us. I am so confused. She is currently in ICU on a respirator. I tell you this so you will understand how serious things are becoming. Myself and our local friends, family, and many parishoners are starting a 9 day Novena to St. Therese the Little Flower, Debra's patron saint. Please join us in our prayers in whatever way you feel able.Thanks again for you thoughts and prayers
Tom

(P.S. I trust the source, and this is in regards to Debra M, one of the R&S Regulars). For those inclined, I'm sure that Tom and his family would appreciate your support and prayers.

But, to keep this a legitimate question, can someone please explain what a Novena is, and if someone wants to do this as welll, what does this mean?
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