Not certain when I may have read this; 10-20 years ago is the best range I can come up with. Not even certain whether it was a novel or something shorter.
The memory of the setting felt kinda post-apocalyptic, because I think it's Earth but just a rural town setting. There's a young woman tending to "Minds", which are some sort of artificial construct or life-form that links up with human minds over a wide area. The Minds provide telepathic and empathic communication to all the humans, and I think it's implied this is why things have stayed peaceful for so long after whatever set the world back. There's also a tone carried by the young woman that this is also why nothing changes much, that people are over-reliant on these Minds.
So the Minds detect some sort of catastrophe headed for Earth. It's thought to be some kind of comet or asteroid, but the Minds can sense something on it. Turns out it was some alien probe (maybe set to gather samples or study other worlds), but it had gone quite nuts and was just "collecting" everything it could grab and freezing it into stasis on it's surface, like the universe's worst hoarder. It arrives and a bunch of "walk into the light" scenes play out all over the world, and with the telepathic pull this thing has lots of humans go for it, including friends and family. The Minds sacrifice themselves to the pull both to push the thing away from Earth and to try to merge with it to prevent this from continuing to terrorize every planet it nears. The last scene ends with the young woman finding a proto-Mind that the originals had managed to construct, and the tone is that the people left will have to figure things out and communicate on their own now, but at least could still have a little help.
Does this sound familiar to anyone?