The following explanation of Novenas is from The Treasury of the Sacred Heart Abridged from the Larger Work, With Epistles and Gospels for All Sundays and Festivals of the Year, published by Charles Eason, Middle Abbey Street, Dublin in 1860:
"By a Novena, is meant a devotion of nine days in honour of some mystery of our Redemption, to obtain a particular request: or in honour of the Blessed Virgin, or any of the Saints; to beg their intercession in obtaining a favour from God.
It may be made of any prayer according to each person's devotion, and is certainly a holy practice, which has often been found successful in obtaining favours from God. Those who perform it with the conditions necessary for prayer; in particular with a lively hope of having their request granted, and perfect resignation, should it be refused, may be assured that Christ, who has said ask and you shall receive, will grant them some grace or blessing as the fruit of their prayer, though, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, he may refuse the particular favour which they implore.
'If," says Saint Augustine, 'he seems deaf to their cries, it is only to grant their main desire, by doing what is more expedient to them.' God alone knows what is good for us: how often is the refusal of our requests a far greater favour than would be the grant of them!'"
O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all of my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and do obtain for me from your Divine son, all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, our Lord, so that having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers. O St. Joseph I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while he reposes near your heart. Press him in my name and kiss his fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen